Climate Change Could Bring Stronger Winds — and More Wind Power

Written by Megan Treacy

A new study by the British Antarctic Survey, the University of Oxford and the University of Bristol looked at what effect a warmer world would have on winds, specifically across the UK and Northern Europe where wind power is already becoming a major source of energy. In a world that is on average 1.5 degrees Celsius warmer, winds would be stronger and as a result, wind power would make up a significantly larger chunk of the electricity produced in that part of the world.

Using data from 282 onshore wind turbines over a span of 11 years paired with climate model data for that 1.5 degree increase in global temperature, the researchers found that in the UK alone there could be a 10 percent increase in wind energy generation. That’s equivalent to meeting the energy demands of an additional 700,000 homes based on the current wind power capacity. The UK is quickly increases wind power installations, so that number would likely be even higher in the future.

Germany, Poland and Lithuania would also see major gains in wind energy production, but the UK stood out from the rest.

“In future, nine months of the year could see UK wind turbines generating electricity at levels currently only seen in winter. Future summers could see the largest increase in wind generation. Therefore, wind could provide a greater proportion of the UK’s energy mix than has been previously assumed,” said Dr. Scott Hosking at the British Antarctic Survey.

The European Commission has a set a renewable energy target of 27 percent by 2030 and wind energy already accounts for 18 percent of electricity capacity in Europe.

This study does not factor in offshore wind, in which the UK leads the world. There are plans for the world’s largest offshore wind installation in the North Sea and Scotland already gets a large chunk of its energy from offshore wind sources. With stronger winds in the future plus offshore wind turbines, the UK will be poised to generate much more energy from wind than this study predicts.

The Paris Climate Agreement calls for countries to do what they can to keep global temperatures below a 2 degrees Celsius increase since pre-industrial times. The more ambitious goal is to keep it to a 1.5 degree increase. In 2015, 195 countries signed the agreement, but last year, the U.S. pulled out though many states, cities and businesses and universities have pledged to keep their word to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

This post originally appeared on TreeHugger.

Photo Credit: Anna Jimenez Calaf/Unsplash

46 comments

Chrissie R
Chrissie R6 days ago

Agree wholeheartedly with Dr. Jan! Less demand = less supply from a waaay overpopulating consumer base.
I do wish the technology would advance though so that billions of birds aren't killed every year.

SEND
Dr. Jan H
Dr. Jan Hill22 days ago

we all need to start with expecting, and having less. If we just refrain from buying things, and going places unnecessarily, demand for energy will drop. Starting with out own self is a start.

SEND
Cindy S
Past Member 23 days ago

sad

SEND
Angela AWAY K
Angela K28 days ago

In Germany, these wind turbines have been around for years and killing thousands of birds and destroy even more the nature ..... nothing else !
Many owners are already dismantling these again, because it is highly controversial investment and only a small benefit .....rather a money-making program of all our questionable and not always honest governments and scientists.
WHY we are not FINALLY stopping all our destructive activities and actions on this earth like rainforest deforestation, slaughterhouses, killing of billions of animals every year, polluting our oceans and and and and and ..... that would stop the climate change immediately !!!
This is the easiest and best way in my eyes !

SEND
Dan Blossfeld
Dan Blossfeld29 days ago

And yet another study found just the opposite. This study published recently in Nature found a 20% decrease in wind power over the northern hemisphere.

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41561-017-0029-9

SEND
Leanne K
Leanne K29 days ago

As glaciers dry up, the wind will blow the soil away. I hope soneobe is planning ahead of how to prevent this as much as possible.

SEND
Leanne K
Leanne K29 days ago

My theory exactly. Its global winding!

SEND
Colin C
Colin C29 days ago

Interesting article

SEND
Chrissie R
Chrissie R29 days ago

And millions more dead birds from our infantile wind technology.

SEND
Winn A
Winnie Aabout a month ago

:-(

SEND