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Surprising Science

Rethinking the Grid

Research suggests that a gigantic network of offshore wind power stations along the Eastern seaboard could potentially provide energy to a large swath of the U.S. without much threat of outages.

New research published in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences suggests that a gigantic network of offshore wind power stations along the Eastern seaboard could potentially provide energy to a large swath of the U.S. without much threat of outages. The concept, outlined by marine-policy expert Willett Kempton, is to have enough wind stations set far enough apart that the system wouldn’t be affected by the biggest problem that wind power systems generally face — intermittent lack of wind. The study analyzed five years of wind data to determine that combining power from a chain of stations in this way could prevent massive power outages.


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