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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012 Sep 25;109(39):15679-84. Epub 2012 Sep 10.

Saturation wind power potential and its implications for wind energy.

Author information

1
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305-4020, USA. jacobson@stanford.edu

Abstract

Wind turbines convert kinetic to electrical energy, which returns to the atmosphere as heat to regenerate some potential and kinetic energy. As the number of wind turbines increases over large geographic regions, power extraction first increases linearly, but then converges to a saturation potential not identified previously from physical principles or turbine properties. These saturation potentials are >250 terawatts (TW) at 100 m globally, approximately 80 TW at 100 m over land plus coastal ocean outside Antarctica, and approximately 380 TW at 10 km in the jet streams. Thus, there is no fundamental barrier to obtaining half (approximately 5.75 TW) or several times the world's all-purpose power from wind in a 2030 clean-energy economy.

PMID:
23019353
PMCID:
PMC3465402
DOI:
10.1073/pnas.1208993109
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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