According to a research by Ken Caldeira, a Senior Climate Scientist working for the Carnegie Institution of Science, there's enough energy in the winds available to fulfill the whole world's needs prior to increasing global energy demands. Most of the wind energy comes from the turbines that can be as tall as a 20-story building with around 60 meter-long blades, which spin and eventually produce electricity. Atmospheric turbines that convert faster and steadier winds into energy are capable of generating more power as compared to ocean and ground-based turbines. The scientist from Carnegie's Institution examined the limits of the wind power and the effects of high-altitude winds on climate.
The team, led by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's Researcher Kate Marvel worked on various models to calculate the amount of energy that is generated from both atmospheric and surface winds. High-altitude or surface winds can be accessed as a result of the technology that merges kites and turbines, whereas surface winds can be accessed by the ground-based turbines or the ones rising out of the ocean. The study focused on the geophysical factors affecting these technologies, but not on the economical or technical factors.
Researchers proposed a number of technological schemes to harvest energy from high-altitude winds, including kite-like, tethered wind turbines and determined that 40 megawatts of electricity could be generated from the current models and transmitted to the ground through tether. Taking into account the weather data of 28 years, the researchers concluded that over 400 terawatts power could be generated from surface winds and atmospheric winds could be accounted for over 1,800 terawatts of power. Today, surface winds provide over 20 times the global energy demand while atmospheric winds from turbines hold 100 times the current global energy demand.
A California State University's scientist Cristina Archer said that they found the higher densities of wind power over eastern China, Japan, north east Africa, southern Australia and eastern United States. Analysts also looked into the reports of some of the largest cities in the world like New York, Mexico City, Seoul, Tokyo and Sao Paulo. Archer added that New York proved to be a prime location which possesses the highest average wind power density than any other major cities in U.S. with about 16 kilowatts per square meter. Ken Caldeira said that technological, economical or political factors will most likely suggest the growth in wind power throughout the world, taking into consideration the big picture.