A scientific analysis published by Energy Policy has revealed that Europe has the potential capacity to power the entire globe through onshore wind power.
The international research team behind the study looked at a geographic information system, winds speed atlases, and data from the European Copernicus satellite programme to find suitable land. Land was excluded if it was not accessible for whatever reason, such being reserved for military use or lacking nearby road infrastructure. Nevertheless, 46% of land in Europe, about 1.9 million square miles, was found to be suitable for building wind farms.
If another 11 million turbines were installed on some of these sites, it would boost Europe’s wind capacity a hundred-fold. Europe would then be expected to produce 497 exajoules of electrical energy, enough to meet global demand until 2050.
While many sceptics will no doubt point at the intermittent nature of wind power, advances are rapidly being made in efficiency and lubricants, such as those sold by Mobil distributors, as well as ways of reserving excess wind energy for later use, such as storing energy in batteries and producing hydrogen that can be cleanly combusted. An assistant professor in energy technology at Aarhus University, Peter Enevoldsen, said:
“But even without accounting for developments in wind turbine technology in the upcoming decades, onshore wind power is the cheapest mature source of renewable energy, and utilising the different wind regions in Europe is the key to meet the demand for a 100 per cent renewable and fully decarbonised energy system.”