ku-xlarge“Will wind turbines be destroyed” when a hurricane strikes? This is the question Mark Jacobson, a lead author of a study just published in Nature Climate Change, poses. He refers to offshore wind farms, and based on simulations using a computer model, he claims that turbines at sea could actually prevent the hurricanes from hitting, and at the same time, could produce enough energy to power entire cities.

A few months ago, when the study was presented at an international symposium, many scientists in the audience were skeptical, but no one could argue the evidence. The computer model that the team from Stanford University developed, simulated what would have happened if there was a large offshore wind farm in the way of hurricanes Katrina, Sandy and Isaac. The answer is, the storms would have been dissipated before the winds could even become destructive, while the turbines would not have been damaged, on the contrary, they would have generated huge amounts of electricity.

The scientists explain that the wind turbines will work in the same was as trees work in valleys in slowing down wind. It really does sound like a very believable and sleek solution to the problem. One one hand, the farms will generate lots of clean energy, and on the other, they will act as safeguards against hurricanes.

It is questionable, and actually quite doubtful, that the U.S. will build such huge offshore wind farms. The study authors suggest that in order for them to work as safety measures, there should be around half a million turbines at sea. But if this is a solution to preventing massive destruction, millions of deaths and countless numbers of people to be left homeless, then why not consider?

Image (c) AP Photo

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Tim Johnson
Tim Johnson

600 terawatts(avg. hurricane total energy) x .0025%(the wind energy component of hurricane energy) = 1.5 terawatts, or 1,500,000 megawatts. A wind farm of say 10 2.0 megawatt turbines= 20 megawatts…. so 100% x 20 megawatts / 1,500,000 = 0.0013333 …..that’s the amount of energy the turbines put out as a percentage of the hurricane’s total energy. Which doesn’t quite directly give you an idea of the braking effect of those 20 turbines against a hurricane, but it certainly shows you how utterly miniscule that wind farm is against a hurricane. And that’s if you knew where to locate it before… Read more »