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Researchers At University Of Liege Claim Greenland Wind Power Could Help Power Europe

Researchers at the University of Liege in Belgium have modeled how prevailing winds in southern Greenland could generate electricity that could help power Europe via high voltage DC transmission lines.

The idea that renewable energy could be generated in remote locations and sent to urban areas hundreds or even thousands of miles away using high voltage DC transmission lines is an appealing one. Last month, Cynthia Shahan wrote a story about how Australia could tap its vast wind and solar resources to become a major energy provider for Indonesia and other neighboring countries.

LIege university wind farm study

Now researchers at the University of Liège in Belgium say their computer models show wind turbines in southern Greenland could create an abundance of wind energy and feed it into the European grid using HVDC transmission lines. The key for those at the Montefiore Institute at the University are the katabatic winds that prevail in that part of Greenland.

If you are not familiar with the word “katabatic,” you’re not alone. We here at CleanTechnica world headquarters had to resort to our friends at Google in order to come up with a definition. According to it means, “Relating to wind currents that blow down a gradient, especially down the slopes of a mountain or glacier. When air comes in contact with the cool surface of a glacier or the upper regions of a mountain or slope, the air cools, becomes dense, and blows downward.”

We would probably be rude to point out the glaciers in Greenland are melting rapidly, which might interfere somewhat with the creation of such winds in the years to come. But sophisticated computer models created by the researchers suggest there are enough winds at the present time to make such a project feasible.

According to a University blog post, this state-of-the-art tool was developed specifically for simulating climatic conditions of polar regions but has the ability to accurately represent physical processes in certain regions  of Greenland, especially those where katabatic winds are present.

In coming months, the team will refine their research to include a cost/benefit analysis of a Greenland wind farm linked to Europe via an HVDC interconnection together with an assessment of the regulatory environment in Europe and how it might impact the importation of electricity from southern Greenland.

HVDC is an idea that deserves further consideration. Some have suggested massive solar farms in northern Africa could be used to provide zero emissions energy to Spain and Portugal. Siting renewable resources in remote locations could help maximize electricity production without taking up valuable real estate in densely populated areas. It’s an idea that deserves further investigation.

A CleanTechnica hat tip to Thijs Buelens.

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Written By

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. 3000 years ago, Socrates said, "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new." Perhaps it's time we listened?


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