High hopes for wind power
Looks like Saul Griffith’s ideas are catching on. A recent study by Carnegie Institution and California State University, the first ever in high altitude wind power, says the jet streams 30,000 feet in the air, where the wind blows on average 10 times stronger than it does close to ground, could satisfy the world’s energy needs. The most productive areas are above the cosmopolitan centers of the eastern coasts of Asia and the United States, meaning New York City could be a valuable tether point for kite-mounted wind turbines. There are still lots of unanswered questions about this technology, like how to prevent interference with airplane traffic and how to handle the 5% of the time that high altitude wind fails–Wired has some pictures and videos of early starts that are eager for solutions–but it seems like kite turbines could be especially useful if it’s true that winds closer to the ground are slowing down.
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