In the renewable energy field offshore wind farms are not a new concept and Europe has already made several developments in the technology, which promises better returns than onshore farms being built all over the world. According to UC Irvine researchers, wind energy over earth’s oceans is a vastly underutilized renewable resource. Scientists claim that the amount of energy generated by similar farms can be enhanced substantially if the wind energy about 80 meters above the surface of the ocean is harnessed. Researchers have figured out that more than 50% more power is available at a height of 80 meters than what is generated at a height of 10 meters.
“In the mid-latitudes, you find these stable environments where air really takes off and accelerates rapidly as you move away from the ocean’s surface,” said Charlie Zender, study co-author and Earth system science associate professor. “There’s a lot of power in the wind. The more we compare it to other energy sources, the more I’m impressed.”
In comparison with other energy sources, such as coal-powered plants, the ocean wind power has a lot of advantages: It is renewable and clean and takes no land-based real estate. Ocean turbines, typically placed in water up to 40 meters deep, can be closer to population centers than power plants, reducing cost of transmission lines and leakage.
According to a new study, the scientists estimated the average global ocean wind power at 841 watts for every square meter swept by turbine rotors. A single wind turbine could supply about 1,000 houses by producing about 1 million watts of power.