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Ocean Wind Power

October 11, 2017

Oceans could give wind farms an energy boost.



An ocean wind power-surge. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

As wind farms get bigger, the windmills in front weaken the wind that reaches the windmills behind them. In the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Carnegie atmospheric scientist Anna Possner reports that this limits land-based wind farms to a maximum of about 1.5 watts per square meter of space. But in many parts of the ocean, the same size wind farms could produce four times more power, by drawing energy from more powerful winds aloft.

ANNA POSSNER (Carnegie Institution- for Science):

And this vertical transport seems to be going at a much faster rate over the ocean, particularly at the mid-latitudes, than over land.


As a result, just one percent of the ocean’s surface could supply enough power to meet 100 percent of global energy needs. Possner says while the technical challenges of creating ocean wind farms are great, the potential is there. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.

Story by Bob Hirshon