Wind power definitely has its fair share of naysayers, but researchers at the Carnegie Institute and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory believe there is more than enough to provide for all of the world’s energy needs – and then some.

Research led by Carnegie’s Ken Caldeira and published in the journal Nature Climate Change on September 9 shows that by combining ground-level and high-altitude atmospheric wind turbines, we could provide for 100 times the current power demands of the entire world. Combining surface-level wind turbines generating 400 TW of power and turbines floated high into the atmosphere on kites capable of generating 1,800 TW means that we could extract a whopping 2,200 terrawatts of power from the wind. Today the whole world uses just 18 TW of power, meaning that wind could provide all the energy we need for the foreseeable future.

Using models to study the effects of drag on turbines and how many could be placed in formation before winds slowed too much to generate any more electricity, the researchers set out to find the point at which energy extraction was at its highest. They also showed that there could a 0.1 degree Celsius rise rise in surface temperatures due to attempts to harvesting so much wind power, but contrary to some studies the overall effect on the environment would be very minor, especially considering that all our energy would then be from a clean, renewable source.

“Looking at the big picture, it is more likely that economic, technological or political factors will determine the growth of wind power around the world, rather than geophysical limitations,” Caldeira said.

We recently mentioned that wind turbines could solve the world’s water crisis and now it looks like if we set our efforts to it, energy derived from the wind could also power our entire world for hundreds of years. Just what are we waiting for?

[via Science Daily]

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