Modern wind turbines can compensate for the decline in global wind resources

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Wind energy makes a substantial contribution to the energy sector's long-term, low-CO2 transformation. Wind turbine efficiency, on the other hand, is determined by available wind resources as well as the mechanical qualities of the turbines.

In the twenty-first century, climate change may cause the worldwide wind supply to dwindle. At the same time, wind turbines' technological properties are continually improving. Researchers Dr. Christopher Jung and Prof. Dr. Dirk Schindler were able to assess these two opposing influencing elements and calculate their impact on global and regional wind turbine efficiency by 2060 using global climate models and newly generated techno-projections.

One finding is that if the usage of wind energy is maximized, the efficiency of the worldwide wind turbine fleet might increase by as much as 23.5 percent by 2035, assuming positive climate trends. The findings of two scientists from the University of Freiburg's Institute of Earth and Environmental Sciences were published in the journal Nature Energy.

High spatial resolution

The two academics' estimations give a solid foundation for wind energy's projected global expansion potential. They find accessible places where wind resources can be utilized most efficiently under future climate conditions in their research. The method allows for the calculation of the optimal locations for individual wind turbines and wind farms all over the world, with a high spatial resolution.

"What was surprising was the modest impact of climate change on wind resources when compared to projected technical improvement of wind turbines," Jung adds. As a result, the reduction in wind resources caused by climate change can be more than countered by modernizing the wind turbine fleet. Variations in resource availability across specific years are also more important than the overall influence of climate change on the usable wind.


Materials provided by the University of Freiburg


Christopher Jung, Dirk Schindler. Development of onshore wind turbine fleet counteracts climate change-induced reduction in global capacity factor. Nature Energy, 2022; DOI: 10.1038/s41560-022-01056-z


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