Wind power is one of the most renewable resources on the Planet. It is constant and constantly changing. It is estimated that if less than one percent of the Earth’s wind energy could be tapped into, it could replace every electrical based energy source for the entire world (Davidson). Wind farms have been around for a while now, but they still have their issues like appearance, noise and the inadvertent killing of birds and bats (Danigels). In order to try and combat some of these issues a few different methods of wind power gathering have been suggested.
One solution could be harnessing the power of the jet stream that moves at incredible speeds (more than 300 mph at times) just 5 miles over our heads (Davidson). This would eliminate the unappealing views of large wind farms, most of the accidental killing of wildlife, and audible noise as the would be so high up as to be hardly noticeable (Davidson). Unfortunately the potential for power harnessed from this source may be less than originally thought (Max-Plank-Gesellschaft).
From a more recent study done by Miller, they energy produced by the Jet Stream may be far less than originally estimated, as the speed the stream travels is based on a lack of friction, the harnessing of that power may not produce enough energy to offset the cost and might even cause widespread climate change (Max-Plank-Gesellschaft).
It has also been proposed to use deep ocean wind farms, that look like modern wind farms but are placed in regions of the ocean were great wind power could be produced with no one around to view it on a regular basis, however this runs into the same problem as the high altitude farms, as wind over the ocean move so fast due to a lack of friction, normal turbines may put up to much resistance to be of any productive use (Carnegie).
Finally, another option that may be the most viable at this point are bladeless wind stalks, that would harness the winds energy based on chaotic, not unidirectional wind flow (Danigelis). These would resemble oversized stalks of wheat and may even create their own parks for visitors to wander among the farm (Danigelis). This would make its appearance appealing, it would pose little to no danger for animals, and it would be cost effective to replace the wind farms present today.
- Carnegie Institution for Science. “Huge energy potential in open ocean wind farms in the North Atlantic: In wintertime, North Atlantic wind farms could provide sufficient energy to meet all of civilization’s current needs.” ScienceDaily. 9 October 2017. Web. 11 November 2017. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/10/171009154949.htm
- Danigelis, Alyssa. “Wind power without the blades.” Seeker, 15 October 2010. Web. 11 November 2017. www.seeker.com/wind-power-without-the-blades-1765128586.html
- Davidson, Keay. “Scientists look high in the sky for power/Jet stream could fill global energy needs, researchers say.” SFGATE, 7 May 2007. Web. 11 November 2017.
- Max-Plank-Gesellschaft. Profider. “The high winds of the upper atmosphere contain less renewable energy than previously assumed.” PHYS-ORG, 12 December 2011. Web. 11 November 2017. phys.org/news/2011-12-high-upper-atmosphere-renewable-energy.html