Wind could meet world power demand by 2013, say Stanford researchers

Wind could meet world power demand by 2013, say Stanford researchers   Mercopress September 12th 2012

More Pie in the Sky from Stanford. It seems the headline went a little astray and the actual date in the paper is 2030. This “research” was paid for by the US taxpayer, via The National Science Foundation, EPA and NASA

“Adapting a sophisticated climate model, researchers show that there is plenty of wind available to supply half to several times the world’s total energy needs within the next two decades. If the world is to shift to clean energy, electricity generated by the wind will play a major role, and there is more than enough wind for that, according to new research from Stanford and the University of Delaware.

Researchers at Stanford University’s School of Engineering and the University of Delaware developed the most sophisticated weather model available to show that not only is there plenty of wind over land and near to shore to provide half the world’s power, but there is enough to exceed the total demand by several times, even after accounting for reductions in wind speed caused by turbines.

The saturation potential, they say, is more than 250 terawatts if we could place an army of 100-meter-tall wind turbines across the entire land and water of planet Earth.

Archer and Jacobson showed that 4 million turbines, each operating at a height of 100 meters and producing 5 megawatts, could supply as much as 7.5 terawatts of power – well more than half the world’s all-purpose power demand – without significant negative affect on the climate.

“To get there, however, we have a long way to go. Today, we have installed a little over 1 percent of the wind power needed,” Jacobson said.

Jacobson and Archer would site half of the 4 million turbines over water. The remaining 2 million would require a little more than one-half of 1 percent of the Earth’s land surface – about half the area of the state of Alaska.

Rather than put all the turbines in a single location, Archer and Jacobson say it is best and most efficient to spread out wind farms in high-wind sites across the globe – the Gobi Desert, the American plains and the Sahara, for example.”

“Their model assumed wind turbines could be installed anywhere and everywhere, without regard to societal, environmental, climatic or economic considerations.”

Full article 

About these ads

26 responses to “Wind could meet world power demand by 2013, say Stanford researchers

  1. I look forward to all these turbines.
    Then there really WILL be a ‘silent spring,’ once all the birds have been wiped out.

  2. Glad these guys are not designing aircraft, automobiles, or even lawnmowers. Otherwise, people could get hurt.

  3. In spite of my increasingly wretched cynicism, my first impulse upon seeing stuff like this is still that it’s lampooning or some sort of hoax. Upon closer inspection, though, it’s an obvious instance of unwitting self-parody.

  4. “Their model assumed wind turbines could be installed anywhere and everywhere, without regard to societal, environmental, climatic or economic considerations.”

    I guess the problem of powering Man with wind power is all them dang humans.

    “Rather than put all the turbines in a single location, Archer and Jacobson say it is best and most efficient to spread out wind farms in high-wind sites across the globe – the Gobi Desert, the American plains and the Sahara, for example.”

    These geniuses seem unaware of distribution. A terawatt in the Gobi will serve no one. And the bigger the spread, the more trouble with distribution.

    • With those assumptions, hampsters on wheels are as useful as dilithium crystals or deuterium fusion. Or, you know, something that actually has a chance of powering anything.

  5. Once again we witness another brilliant study from academic geniuses who know nothing about the realities of power engineering- either on the generation or transmission side. Wind power is an intermittent source that operates with a typical capacity factor of 30 – 35%. Capacity Factor (CF) is an industry term which refers to the ratio of actual power plant output (generation) over a period of time (typically a month or year) versus its potential output if it had operated at its full nameplate capacity the entire time. As a point of reference, nuclear units commonly operate at a 90% CF, natural gas and coal units in the 80 – 90% range, and hydro in the 30 – 45% range depending on water reserves.

    Now there is potential to store electric energy, but it is very limited. Aside from pumped storage (hydro) facilities, existing battery storage has not exceeded 40 MW on a scale basis and is depleted in about 30 minutes.

    Wind (and solar) energy continue to be a chimera with respect to the power industry as envisioned by “climate researchers”. They will not in the foreseeable future serve as base-load energy resources. To suggest otherwise is an intellectual travesty.

    The research money would be far better spent on nuclear fusion research.

    • I don’t know where you are getting those mythical 30% turbines, but I want one. Last I heard, the Capacity Factor of wind power was closer to 10%.

  6. So if we cover the entire planet in windmills we can save the world!

  7. And people wonder how Easter Island got to be like it is…

  8. “… not only is there plenty of wind over land and near to shore to provide half the world’s power, but there is enough to exceed the total demand by several times.” This qualifies for research at Stanford? There is a lot of a wind and IF … That’s not even news. (Also of some curiousity but not enough to motivate me to look to explain the inconsistency: Is it half the world’s power or exceeding demand several times over?)

    It’s providing, what 3% capacity right now – and I can’t go 65 miles in any direction without encountering vast swaths of land marred by these rusting, technological stone age monuments to urban blight. And they’re taking – without asking – our money to do it.

    Next up: a study to prove there is enough radio active material to provide both half of the world’s power and exceed demand several times over – and do it all with one reactor in one location IF it were big enought and IF the world used superconductive transmission lines. Redundant study to prove there is enough energy in sunlight IF?

    Here’s a better engineering project that would actually advance engineering and not take credit for duplicating common knowledge: Design a hypothetical drilling procedure and rig to drill the Arctic either to deal with the ice from above or without ice interference from the ocean floor.

  9. So, asking the usual questions:
    1. What kind of grid would be needed to distribute the power from where the wind is blowing NOW to where it is dark or cold or hot NOW?
    2. Granted that wind is free, how much are the fixed costs of building the turbines and the new grid and how long is the payback horizon?
    3. What about the birds?
    4. What about the scenery and the skyline?
    5. What about the changes in wind behavior? The Jet Stream might continue as before but this many turbines is going to do something to surface-level winds.
    6. What’s the real environmental cost of this system?
    If – IF – the answers to these questions proved wind was feasible, I’d say go ahead. The real-world test of these answers, though, is measured in whether wind turbines can compete economically with conventional energy. The answer for now is NO.
    But you knew that.

  10. So, they have NOT figured out how to Manufacture, Install, Connect to the grid, provide for mass storage of electricity or pay for all of this, but it could happen?

  11. Stanford University, the ones who gave, you know,
    Michele Wie, you know, a Bachelor of Arts in Communications.

  12. LOL, Save the world: Eat meat and start farting! The windstorm will power us for the next century!

  13. Everyone is missing the most obvious fact that there is nowhere near enough maintenance people in the world to keep that many wind turbines running. They have serious problems keeping the few ( comparatively ) presently installed operating. Any time I see wind farms there is always seems to be a large percentage of them stationary (needing repair?) considering the relative recent nature of the farms. I doubt this situation will improve with age.

  14. Computer modeling: Garbage in, garbage out.

  15. “Their model assumed wind turbines could be installed anywhere and everywhere, without regard to societal, environmental, climatic or economic considerations.”

    I like these guys–they assume no governmental regulations!!

    If coal, oil, gas, nuclear etc. could operate under those assumptions, we could have 10 cent gasoline, monthly electric bill so 2.00 etc.

  16. ““Their model assumed wind turbines could be installed anywhere and everywhere, without regard to societal, environmental, climatic or economic considerations.” – Would the current inhabitants of the Stanford University School of Engineering like to volunteer their own location as the starting point for this silly plan?… I thought not.

  17. At about $1.75 per watt (http://www.windustry.org/resources/how-much-do-wind-turbines-cost) that 7.5 Terawatts will cost $13.125 trillion dollars – about as much as the Obama deficit. Add in the cost of lost productivity from farmlands and increased expense due to rerouting of shipping lanes and air corridors, and one has to ask “How will we pay for this?”

  18. MT, questuion #7. Where would we get the natural resources needed to build all of these windmills?

  19. My… this “study” rates right up there with how many angels can dance on the head of a pin – who cares? *yawn*

    [and this is where millions of dollars of tax money are going. wonderful.]

  20. Howdy Allen
    Of course you’re right, along with another probably 10 or 20 related questions.
    That dang feasibility thing keeps cropping up.

    • What happens to the rainfall dispersion across the globe when we pull all this enegy out of the wind? Will we have more extremes of draught and flood conditions?

  21. Well Gamecock, if they don’t build more wind farms in Australia then my friend el senor Quixote will be most disappointed since he has several brand new swords. Oh, and by the way, there is a very large ship presently stranded in South Australia – some kind of Dutch fishing trawler that would negotiate with you on the gun issue. No problem. And guns are welcome in Australia as long as you mention you are a relative of Ned Kelly. That name will get you by. Trust me.

  22. What they also don’t realize is that the turbines are only good for about 15 years. Then we would have to start all over upgrading or replacing those already placed. Average cost now a days around $1.9 miilion each…who know what it would be 15 years from now. Man made… so man can remove them when they all fail, for just scrap value.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s