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Power From The Skies

According to a new study, utilizing upper-level winds, which are consistent and reliable, along with ground-level winds could provide 20-100 times current global power demand, in addition to near-zero-emissions.

Ken Caldeira of Stanford University’s Carnegie Institute, co-author of the study, admits despite the vast potential for wind energy to power the globe, and other studies showing similar results, there will always be a need for a multi-faceted energy system.

Further, in order to achieve the amounts of wind energy production, it is a necessity to scale-up production of wind farms, which may not be technologically or fiscally feasible at this point in time.

The plan for installing upper-level wind turbines involves tethered turbines floating hundreds or thousands of meters in the air to capture the stronger, more consistent winds.

Whether the world has the technology to do so, or the ability to fund such projects, remains to be seen, but it is a progressive idea that is certain to spawn more realistic projects which could lead up to the escalation into floating wind turbines. Additionally, the study refutes the oppositional point which claims the wind turbines would generate enough heat to be the equivalent of doubling the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere.

As previously stated, both technology and fiscal capabilities need to be enhanced in order to implement such a project, which requires not only domestic policy, but also foreign policy. If the U.S. were to attempt this project, it would likely be in partnership with geographically-close countries, such as Canada or Mexico. As a result, domestic policy would need to be in place to shape technology and funds in the country, and foreign policy would be necessary to create a valid partnership.

While it is unlikely that either of the presidential candidates have this type of project in mind for the short-term, aid to the technological aspects of the project could be given so in the long-term, floating wind turbines could be a powerful player in a multi-faceted energy system.

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