A widespread decrease in surface winds has led to a rapid decline of wind energy resources in the northern hemisphere in recent years, according to a recent study led by Chinese researchers.
Wind power is one of the most important renewable energy sources, but it is a fairly unstable natural resource. Previous studies have focused on the assessment of wind energy reserves. However, little research has been done on how wind energy resources evolve over time.
Researchers from the Institute of Atmospheric Physics under the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Purdue University of the United States used observed data to analyze the changes of surface wind speeds from 1979 to 2016 over the northern hemisphere and their impacts on wind power potential.
Results showed that approximately 30 percent, 50 percent and 80 percent of the stations in North America, Europe, and Asia respectively have lost over 30 percent of wind energy resources since 1979.
The study also reveals that global climate models can not simulate long-term trends in wind energy resources, indicating that the estimation of wind energy resources based on global climate models should be used with careful consideration.
The study showed that the decline of wind energy is a widespread and potential global phenomenon, according to the research team.
The study was published in the journal Energy.
[Tian Q, Huang G, Hu K, Niyogi D, Observed and global climate model based changes in wind power potential over the Northern Hemisphere during 1979–2016. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.energy.2018.11.027]
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