Winds and storms in the Atlantic are so strong that wind-powered turbines in the Atlantic Ocean could provide the whole world with clean energy. Energy experts now claim that ocean wind farms can produce three to five times more energy than wind turbines on land. Over water wind speeds are up to 70% higher.
Winds on land create friction because of mountains and buildings. They slow down as they move inwards . In addition, turbines are built closer together, which takes some of the wind speed away .
Winds are especially strong across the northern Atlantic Ocean because of differences in water temperature. When the warm Gulf Stream moves up the North American coast it mixes with cold water in the northern Atlantic. This leads to higher storm activity and more winds, especially during the winter months.
Norway’s energy company Statoil has been operating floating wind turbines in the shallow North Sea for over a decade. These are connected via cable to the ocean floor. In order to make them work in the deep sea , however, they must be attached to vertical poles that have massive weights in the water.
One of the biggest problems that face ocean wind farms is transporting energy from the deep sea to land. Energy companies , like Statoil, are looking for high-wind areas that are closer to shore.
While wind farms on land are becoming more and more common, production costs of running them are becoming lower. In the near future wind energy is expected to become one of the cheapest alternative energy sources .
Europe is the number one wind energy producer at the moment. Every year, about 12 gigawatts of energy are produced by wind power, whereas in America green energy from wind is still in its infancy. If produced more effectively, the solution to the world’s energy problems may lie in ocean wind farms.
- alternative energy source = energy that does not come from fossil fuels, like, coal, oil or gas
- attach = fix, connect to something
- claim = to say that something is true even if you cannot prove it
- coast = where land meets the sea
- common = widespread, popular
- connect = fix or tie to something
- decade = ten years
- deep sea = far away from land
- Gulf Stream = warm water that flows to Europe from the Gulf of Mexico
- effectively = here: to produce more with less money
- especially = above all
- face = deal with, manage
- float = to move on water without sinking
- friction = when something rubs against a surface
- gigawatt = one thousand million watts
- in addition = also
- infancy = at the beginning
- inward = here: away from the sea
- massive = very big
- provide = give
- shallow = not deep
- shore = land near the coast
- speed = how fast something is
- turbine = energy or motor in which pressure pushes a wheel around
- weight = a very heavy object
- whereas = on the other side