Wind power may be the key to a clean energy revolution: a new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science finds that wind power could provide for the entire world’s current and future energy needs.
In Brief About Wind Potential
Wind energy is a mature option in sustainable energy with great potential and a rapid development over the past 25 years.
Technological status: mature
Annual average growth: 17.1 percent
Major challenge: integration of high shares in the grid
Major barrier: insufficient international standards
Total share of global energy mix 2007: 3.3 percent of electricity
Potential total share of global energy mix 2030: 29.1 percent of electricity
Possible adverse effects: visual intrusion and environmental considerations for land based turbines; disposal of worn out turbines.
Xi Lu, Michael McElroy, and Juha Kiviluoma in their White Paper "Global potential for wind generated electricity" stated with confidence that "Wind could power the entire world" .
Expanding their view to the top ten carbon emitters, the researchers found that Russia, Canada, and the United States (in this order) had the greatest capacity for wind power. However, they note that much of the area available for wind power in Russia and Canada is far from any cities, making their construction costly. In addition, the authors note that the public may oppose wind turbines in particular areas, especially remote, ecologically sensitive regions. Still, they conclude that “despite these limitations, it is clear that wind power could make a significant contribution to the demand for electricity” in most high carbon emitting countries.