Wind turbines and cows
Image: guitar photographer Shutterstock

Researchers at the universities of Sussex (UK) and Aarhus (Denmark) say Europe has the capacity to produce 100 times more renewable energy from onshore wind farms than it currently produces.

A study published in the journal Energy policy, where all European sites suitable for onshore wind farms are analyzed and find that Europe has the potential to supply enough energy – 52.5 terawatts of nominal capacity – for the whole world until 2050.

The study is not a development plan, but rather a guide for decision makers that informs about potential and best opportunities. Our study suggests that the horizon is bright for the onshore wind sector and that European aspirations for a 100% renewable grid are within our collective technological reach. Obviously, we are not saying that we should install turbines at all the identified sites, but the study shows the enormous potential of wind power across Europe which must be tapped if we are to avoid a climate catastrophe.

Benjamin Sovacool, professor of energy policy at the University of Sussex.

The research consisted of a spatial analysis of data from the Geographic Information System which allowed the team to take into account exclusion factors, including houses, roads, areas restricted for military or political reasons. , as well as land unsuitable for wind energy production. The greater detail of this new approach allowed the research team to identify more than three times the onshore wind potential in Europe compared to previous studies.

Critics will no doubt argue that the naturally intermittent supply of wind power makes onshore wind power inadequate to meet global demand. But even without taking into account the development of wind technology in the decades to come, onshore wind is the cheapest mature source of renewable energy, and the use of different wind regions in Europe is key to meeting this challenge. at the request of a 100% renewable and fully renewable. carbon-free energy system.

Peter Enevoldsen, Assistant Professor at the Aarhus University Center for Energy Technology.

According to Daily Science, the study estimates that more than 11 million additional wind turbines could theoretically be installed on nearly 5 million square kilometers of suitable land and provide a nominal power of 52.5 terawatts.

Turkey, Russia and Norway were identified as the countries with the greatest potential. Although the overall European onshore wind potential in all countries is higher than previous estimates.