- Obama downplays IRS scandal, blames Obamacare rollout on ‘outdated’ agencies
- Pregnancies decline overall, up among older women
- Pentagon plans to destroy Syrian chemical arms on ship at sea
- Paris Metro issues ‘politeness manual’ to improve passengers’ behavior
- Justin Bieber, crew detained at Australian airport in drug search
- Lee Rigby trial: Muslim who machete-hacked soldier calls it ‘humane’ kill
- GM ending Chevy sales in Europe to focus on Opel and Vauxhall
- Putin’s diplomats to U.S. busted for living high life off $1.5M bilked from Medicaid
- Happy Meal: Couple goes to McDonald’s, leaves with bag packed with cash
- Boehner: It took me 3 to 4 hours to sign up for Obamacare
Studies: Wind potentially could power the world
WASHINGTON (AP) - Earth has more than enough wind to power the entire world, at least technically, two new studies find.
But the research looks only at physics, not finances. Other experts note it would be too costly to put up all the necessary wind turbines and build a system that could transmit energy to all consumers.
The studies are by two different U.S. science teams and were published in separate journals on Sunday and Monday. They calculate that existing wind turbine technology could produce hundreds of trillions of watts of power. That’s more than 10 times what the world now consumes.
Wind power doesn’t emit heat-trapping gases like burning coal, oil and natural gas. But there have been questions, raised in earlier studies, about whether physical limits would prevent the world from being powered by wind.
The new studies, done independently, showed potential wind energy limits wouldn’t be an issue.
Money would be.
“It’s really a question about economics and engineering and not a question of fundamental resource availability,” said Ken Caldeira, a climate scientist at the Palo Alto, Calif., campus of the Washington-based Carnegie Institution for Science. He is a co-author of one of the studies; that one appeared Sunday in the journal Nature Climate Change.
Caldeira’s study finds wind has the potential to produce more than 20 times the amount of energy the world now consumes. Right now, wind accounts for just a tiny fraction of the energy the world consumes. So to get to the levels these studies say is possible, wind production would have to increase dramatically.
If there were 100 new wind turbines for every existing one, that could do the trick says, Mark Jacobson, a Stanford University professor of civil and environmental engineering.
Jacobson wrote the other study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. It shows a slightly lower potential in the amount of wind power than Caldeira’s study. But he said it still would amount to far more power than the world now uses is or is likely to use in the near future.
Jacobson said startup costs and fossil fuel subsidies prevent wind from taking off. The cheap price of natural gas, for one thing, hurts wind development, he added.
Henry Lee, a Harvard University environment and energy professor who used to be energy chief for the state of Massachusetts, said there a few problems with the idea of wind powering the world. The first is the cost is too high.
Furthermore, all the necessary wind turbines would take up too much land and require dramatic increases in power transmission lines, he said.
Jerry Taylor, an energy and environmental analyst at the conservative Cato Institute, said the lack of economic reality in the studies made them “utterly irrelevant.”
Caldeira acknowledged that the world would need to change dramatically to shift to wind.
“To power civilization with wind turbines, I think you’re talking about a couple wind turbines every square mile,” Caldeira said. “It’s not a small undertaking.”
Nature Climate Change: http://www.nature.com/nclimate
Seth Borenstein can be followed at http://twitter.com/borenbears
- 'Hunger Games' delivers Obama's message on income inequality: liberal group
- NAPOLITANO: Pope Francis should be saving souls, not pocketbooks
- CARSON: Getting to the top by starting at the bottom
- Inside China: Nuclear submarines capable of widespread attack on U.S.
- Obama returns to class warfare as poll numbers plunge
- Hack attack: 2 million Facebook, Twitter passwords stolen
- Democratic infighting erupts over 'we can have it all' fantasy on entitlements
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- U.S. drops 2,000 mice on Guam by parachute to kill snakes
- CURL: 'Mission Accomplished' for Obamacare
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Interviews and show reviews from the Los Angeles punk scene past and present. Los Angeles has always been rich in punk rock talent since punk rock was born.
NFL junkie Eric Golub reports on his favorite obsession. There is no football offseason. Every February he pretends to care about other sports while sobbing uncontrollably each Sunday until September.
All of the world’s problems, solved on your back porch
Brazen, leading-edge, “call it like it is” columns and reporting from Ohio native, radio host and writer, Sara Marie Brenner.
White House pets gone wild!