Sunday, October 28, 2018

Can Wind Farms Actually Weaken Hurricanes?

Offshore wind farm (Credit: Click to Enlarge.
Simulations have shown that spinning turbine blades of offshore wind farms can actually slow the wind speeds of a hurricane.

Imagine all those people living on the coasts who argued great hulking white spikes of metal ruined the view.  Wonder how they feel knowing they could save their lives.

It happens as the hurricane moves into the reach of the blades.  Gradually the speed of the winds on the outside of the barrel are slowed, the waves reduce in size and ultimately the hurricane itself loses pace.

It’s thanks to 24 years of work from Professor Mark Z. Jacobson from Stanford University who teamed with Cristina Archer a civil and environmental engineer from the University of Delaware.  Part of that involved looking at how much energy turbines can take from wind currents.  After hurricanes Sandy and Katrina, he wondered what impact wind farms could have on these storms.

He discovered that it was significant.  In fact, wind speeds could be reduced by as much as 92%.  Storm surges could be brought down by 79%.  When he took Katrina, the one that caused unbelievable destruction in New Orleans in 2005, a certain number of turbines would have slowed speeds by as much as 98 mph, and the storm surge would have been dropped by 79%.

Read more at Can Wind Farms Actually Weaken Hurricanes?

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