Article written by guest writer Kecia Lynn
What's the Latest Development?
Right now, wind power could easily provide all of Earth's energy needs with plenty to spare, according to a new study published this week. The authors have estimated "a potential of [400 trillion watts] of wind power at the Earth's surface and [1.8 quadrillion watts] of power from the upper atmosphere" -- dwarfing our puny 18-trillion-watt usage. Some of that higher-altitude energy could be tapped by turbines that would float kilometers above the planet.
What's the Big Idea?
Realistically speaking, other energy sources will always be needed, says Ken Caldeira, co-author of the study. However, if all this wind energy is available, there must be a way to get more of it, considering that currently it only supplies about 1 percent of the Earth's needs. Unfortunately there are a number of significant hurdles to overcome, including finding the money to construct more turbines and finding the landowners, both public and private, who are willing to host them. The wind is there...but Caldeira says, "[E]conomic, technological or political factors will determine the growth of wind power around the world."
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