Peak Wind?

The green taliban talk about peak oil, it was supposed to be about 20 years ago…still waiting.

However it is thought that we are almost at peak wind…which will horrify the green taliban:

The realistic limits on wind power are probably much lower than scientists have suggested, according to new research, so much so that the ability of wind turbines to have any serious impact on energy policy may well be in doubt. Even if money were no object, the human race would hit Peak Wind output at a much lower level than has previously been thought.

This new and gloomy analysis for global wind power comes from Professor David Keith of the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. The prof and his collaborator, Professor Amanda Adams of North Carolina uni, have weighed into a row which has been taking place for some years between crusading pro-wind physicists and their critics. 

The pro-wind boffins, led by such figures as Harvard enviro-prof Michael McElroy and Mark Jacobson of Stanford, have long contended that if there is any upper limit on the amount of energy that could be extracted from the Earth’s winds it is well above the amount the human race requires. They further contend that extracting these vast amounts of power from the atmosphere will not have any serious impact on the world’s climate.

Both these assertions, however, have been called into doubt – and the first one, that there’s plenty of wind power to meet all human demands, is particularly shaky as it ignores the thorny issue of cost. McElroy, Jacobson and their allies tend to make wild assumptions – for instance that it would be feasible to distribute massive wind turbines across most or even all of the planet’s surface.

Whoopsy…but, but, but wind power will save us all!

Harvard uni now informs us:

Keith’s research has shown that the generating capacity of very large wind power installations (larger than 100 square kilometers) may peak at between 0.5 and 1 watts per square meter.

As opposed to the 4+ watts assumed by Archer and Jacobson. In other words we’ll be hitting Peak Wind a lot sooner than anyone thought. Archer and Jacobson’s ridiculous unbuildable world wind project – which seemed likely to cost substantially more than the entire human race’s economic output – would actually produce as little as one-eighth of what they think: and that was only a quarter of the amount of power that the human race might reasonably ask for (ie, say two-thirds of what a present-day European uses for everyone). So it would be able to provide about 3 per cent of global energy requirements, or well under a terawatt.

Right. Can we hear no more about wind power…thank you.

  • Andy

    I do take particular pride in making a screen shot of the UK wind output sitting at 0.0% of the grid sometime last year, which ended up in Christopher Booker’s Sunday Telegraph column.

  • Patrick

    Peak wind?? Don’t make me laugh, there is still plenty to come from the Wussell Norman’s of this world.

  • blokeintakapuna

    the Greens seem to have plenty of wind power… trouble is, it’s all in their underpants…

  • BJ

    when the first windmill was plonked in front of my lovely view about 15 years ago I thought what a twisted sick idea. It would have been more realistic for the government to insist on a universal or solar charger for all tech appliances

  • Sir Cullen’s Sidekick

    The wind Muesli Norman emits will blow NZ away folks…..that is what I call peak wind

  • Marc Williams

    Hat tip, the Telegraph- subtitle is “For one ghastly moment I thought they were building a wind farm.”

  • Bovver

    The world needs switch to nuclear energy, clean and green.

  • tas

    The critical issue is the fact that when the wind stops, so does the power. So you still need a coal plant waiting to pick up the slack.

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