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Wind Roundup

September 21, 2012

Airborne wind turbines have the potential to meet half of the world’s energy needs by 2030.



Can wind power make a difference? I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Years ago, the idea of stringing millions of miles of wire to physically connect every telephone in the country seemed outlandish. Perhaps similarly, the idea of flying hundreds of thousands of high altitude wind turbines to supply the world’s electrcity also seems pretty crazy. But a new study published by the Stanford School of Engineering in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences determined that high altitude and ground based wind turbines could supply half the entire world’s energy demand by the year 2030, and even at that level, we’d only be tapping a small fraction of what’s available.

In related news, scientists report in the journal Nature Climate Change that such massive build ups of wind turbines would have little effect on weather or climate patterns. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.

One model for a high-altitude wind generator. (JamesProvost/Wikimedia Commons)