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Could One Deep-Sea Wind Farm Power the World?

13 Oct 13:00 by Steve Walia

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Scientists believe that the world's entire energy needs could be met with one single deep-sea wind farm which would need to be the size of India and stretch across the North Atlantic.

A major new study suggests that a renewable energy project of this size would provide enough sustainable power for the world's needs. 

The practicalities of such an endeavour would be challenging indeed - with hurdles including vast investment needs and cooperation from the world's governments. However, it would solve significant problems in a world where 20pc of the population still have no access to electricity.

The researchers behind the project, Ken Caldeira and Anna Possner, wrote in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, explaining that a wind farm that stretched across three million square metres in the ocean would meet today's global energy needs, with the wind speeds over the ocean around 70pc more powerful than over land. 

Simulations showed that it could be possible to produce over 6w of energy per square metre. This is facilitated by the area's geography, with the North Atlantic having access to a vast reserve of heat energy that flows into the atmosphere from the surface of the ocean.

Consequently, greater reserves of energy flow down from the upper levels of the atmosphere than they do over land. This helps to mitigate the known impact of turbine drag, which occurs in large wind farms.

If such a wind farm were to be built, its power would be seasonal and output would fall to around 20p of the total average annual needs during the summer months. However, even during this time, enough green energy would be produced to meet the total energy needs of every country in the EU.