Published on June 16th, 2009 | by Jeff Kart17
High-Altitude Winds Hold Sky-High Promise for Meeting Electricity Needs
June 16th, 2009 by Jeff Kart
High-altitude winds hold enough energy to power the world 100 times over.
Though harnessing them is another issue.
You’ve heard of commercial wind turbines in farm fields, offshore turbines on the water, even small wind turbines on the rooftops of homes, but high-altitude winds are also being studied as a potential energy source.
The first-ever study of high-altitude winds by the Carnegie Institution and California State University says winds in the jet stream, about 30,000 feet up, would be the ideal source to exploit. And the sky over New York is a prime spot, along with population centers in the eastern United States and East Asia.
Will New York and other cities some day get their gadget juice from tethers attached to the sky? Will this give a new meaning to the “Mile High Club?”
The scientists say you can expect fluctuations, when the wind doesn’t blow, about 5 percent of the time.
Would a kite-type project to harness this energy source be worth the coin? It seems issues with siting, aesthetics and noise (and wildlife?) would be mostly moot. There are still planes to contend with, however.
The study is available online at Energies Open Access Journal.
(Image: A Flying Electric Generator referenced in the study. From skywindpower.com.)
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