Monday, December 17, 2012

Need To Install Wind Turbines Covering An Area The Size Of North Carolina Every Year Just To Keep Up With The Annual Growth In Electricity Demand: Need More If Want To Replace Existing Fossil Fuel Electricity With Wind

Posted by Milton Recht:

From The Wall Street Journal, "Harvard Needs Remedial Energy Math: Wind and solar power cannot possibly meet the world's growing need for more electricity." by Robert Bryce:
The International Energy Agency expects global electricity use to continue growing by about 450 terawatt-hours per year through 2035.

Here's where the math becomes college-freshman obvious: In 2011, the world had 240,000 megawatts of wind-generation capacity. That fleet of turbines produced 437 terawatt-hours of electricity. Therefore, just keeping up with the growth in global electricity demand—while not displacing any of the existing need for coal, oil and natural gas—would require the countries of the world to install about as much wind-generation capacity as now exists, and they'd have to do so every year.

Put another way, just to keep pace with demand growth, the wind industry will need to cover a land area of some 48,000 square miles with wind turbines per year, an area about the size of North Carolina.

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