As surely as the wind blows, we all knew it was only a matter of time before the United States invested extraordinary amounts of money into the development of the latest renewable energy sources. However — nobody expected this.
—Twice the size of an American football field ... "
—Roughly the size of Trump Tower in New York ... "
—Skyscraper-sized ... "
(Or maybe we did, but still.)
Wind: the world's most abundant energy resource.
Rarely do we have the opportunity to refer to anything other than skyscrapers as —skyscraper-sized, " but it seems as though — in a few years — our oceans may be littered with hundreds-of-millions-of-dollars-worth of gigantic wind turbines. Each turbine blade will likely measure over 650 feet, according to vice.com's Brian Merchant.
650 feet. As Merchant puts it, that's —twice the size of an American football field " and right about equivalent in stature to the Trump Tower. (On a side note, what other kind of football field is there? Just joking.)
At any rate, these theoretical turbine blades are so outrageously large that they are somewhat difficult to perceive. And though you may chalk up all of this theoretical jibber-jabber to a slightly more intellectual, passive aggressive, and hipster-fueled equivalent of the Space Race, it seems that these giant machines, in theory, could actually do much more than simply be large in size.
With millions of dollars being pumped into the research and developmental phases of these gigantic, energy-harnessing machines, it seems that the Department of Energy's goal to provide 20% of the country's energy via wind by the year 2030 may be setting the bar a bit low. If the folks at Sandia National Laboratories (they're leading the research) quickly come up with a working prototype, it seems that a heck of a lot of energy can be withdrawn from the squalls of the sea.
As the velocity of wind gusts increase beyond a point of comfort — say, during a hurricane or tropical storm — the turbine would be capable of stowing its blades away, and preventing damage. These blades, though massive, will be exceptionally lightweight, which may allow them to eventually achieve somewhere around 50MW of power. For reference, the largest commercial turbine is rated at 8 MW. Again, for reference, a single 1.5 MW turbine might be capable of providing enough electric energy for over 330 houses for a full year.
Denmark, the world leader in wind energy consumption, receives 40% of its energy from wind. However, the pioneers of the wind energy movement only produced 1,271 MW of offshore wind power in 2014. To compare, if Sandia's giant turbine actually worked as efficiently as the studies suggest, the US could theoretically exceed Denmark's offshore wind energy production in one year with only 25 of the massive machines. That's some pretty impressive stuff.
http://motherboard.vice.com/read/design-unveiled-f... -- Merchant's original article.
https://share.sandia.gov/news/resources/news_relea... -- Sandia Official Site