PAOC Spotlights

Wind resistance

Thu September 30th, 2010
MIT News Office - Morgan Bettex

Researchers suggest generating electricity from large-scale wind farms could influence climate — and not necessarily in the desired way. Professor Ron Prinn and PRS Chien Wang of PAOC speak to MIT News...

Wind power has emerged as a viable renewable energy source in recent years — one that proponents say could lessen the threat of global warming. Although the American Wind Energy Association estimates that only about 2 percent of U.S. electricity is currently generated from wind turbines, the U.S. Department of Energy has said that wind power could account for a fifth of the nation’s electricity supply by 2030.

But a new MIT analysis may serve to temper enthusiasm about wind power, at least at very large scales. PAOC's Ron Prinn, , and principal research scientist Chien Wang, used a climate model to analyze the effects of millions of wind turbines that would need to be installed across vast stretches of land and ocean to generate wind power on a global scale. Such a massive deployment could indeed impact the climate, they found, though not necessarily with the desired outcome.