Wind energy over deep oceans could offer three times as much power as is available from onshore projects of the same size.
That’s according to new research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), which suggests there is so much wind energy potential over oceans it could theoretically be used to generate “civilisation scale power”.
The research claims there is an upper limit to the amount of energy that turbines on land can generate, both because natural and human structures create friction and slow wind speeds and also because each individual wind turbine leaves less wind energy for other turbines to collect.
It adds wind speeds over the sea can be as much as 70% higher than on land and a phenomenon called ‘wind replenishment’ means powerful wind energy is transferred down to the surface from higher altitudes, meaning each turbine can get a relatively fresh flow of air.
Ken Caldeira, Project Researcher from the Carnegie Institution for Science in Stanford, California, said: “If each turbine removes something like half the energy flowing through it, by the time you get to the second row, you’ve only got a quarter of the energy and so on.”