According to a new study from the University of Sussex and Aarhus University, the European continent has more than enough onshore wind power for meeting the power demands of the world up until 2050, and this power can be harnessed using onshore wind turbines.
The team came up with this conclusion using spatial analysis of Geographical Information System (GIS) based atlases. The results of the study have been published in Energy Policy. By making use of GIS, the team of researchers was able to factor in the exclusionary factors, including houses, military bases, and roads, that wouldn’t be built on typically. This led the team to find out that 46% of Europe can be used for onshore turbines.
Benjamin Sovacool, the co-author of the study and professor energy policy at the University of Sussex, said, ‘The study is not a blueprint for development but a guide for policymakers indicating the potential of how much more can be done and where the prime opportunities exist. Our study suggests that the horizon is bright for the onshore wind sector and that European aspirations for a 100 percent renewable energy grid are within our collective grasp technologically.’
Sovalcool further adds, ‘Obviously, we are not saying that we should install turbines in all the identified sites, but the study does show the huge wind power potential right across Europe which needs to be harnessed if we’re to avert a climate catastrophe.’ It is impressive to find out about the potential power that the European continent is capable fo harnessing and the options that are available in terms of renewable energy.
More than 11 million wind turbines will have to be installed across five million square kilometers so that the continent can generate 497 exajoules of power. The global energy demand will be around 430 exajoules by 2050. According to the study, Norway, Turkey, and Russia are the three nations where most of the energy could be harnessed using onshore wind turbines. Big parts of Western Europe are also included in the category though since ideal locations must have long flat sections of land and plenty of wind.
Peter Enevoldsen is the assistant professor at Aarhus University’s Center for Energy Technologies and said, ‘But even without accounting for developments in wind turbine technology in the upcoming decades, onshore wind power is the cheapest mature source of renewable energy, and utilizing the different wind regions in Europe is the key to meet the demand for a 100 percent renewable and fully decarbonized energy system.’