Wed, 03/21/2018 - 12:51am


How Much Wind Does a Wind Turbine Need?

There are more than 2,300 wind turbines spinning away and creating energy off the coasts of 11 European countries. A large number of those turbines are located in the North and Irish seas. One reason for that is because the winds blowing across those bodies of water are not only strong but also sustained.

It’s the same reason wind energy companies are eyeing the North Carolina coast as a possible location for wind farms. But that begs the question: just how much wind does a wind farm, or at least a wind turbine, need?

Seeking Sea Power

The winds along North Carolina’s Outer Banks are some of the strongest and most sustainable on the East Coast. Scientists are working on ways to harvest that energy by constructing wind turbines far enough offshore so that beachgoers won’t see them, but near enough for the generated power to be brought to shore economically.

Making Waves

Ask anybody what they like about North Carolina’s beaches and you’ll likely hear responses like warm sun, warm sand, ocean breeze, and fresh seafood at the restaurants. The answers vary, of course, but I think one thing that everyone likes about the beach is the sound of the waves.

So the question is... What makes an ocean wave?

The answer is simple: wind.