Able to power 1.6 million homes, wind energy is a worthy industry, and new investments and discoveries may soon expand the market like wildfire. As of right now, the U.S. produces 16 billion kWh of wind energy annually. While the costs of systems like wind turbines are still relatively high, experts predict that they will fall soon enough with the addition of new technologies and innovation.
While the most effective wind turbines — the traditional masts with rotating blades — are widely recognized as the most effective wind turbine design, they do have a number of flaws. They pose a danger to birds, cost a lot of money to manufacture, and even the smaller turbines take up a lot of space.
But one company’s new innovative turbine design may revolutionize the wind energy industry forever.
Accio Energy — yes, a Harry Potter reference — has developed an energy source that moves wind power offshore, to the ocean. Instead of large-mast turbines, this system uses large, permeable panels that allows wind to pass through them. They are set up in the ocean, and can therefore harness the consistent power of ocean winds.
The system is undeniably unique. The panels emit positively-charged sea mist energy droplets, and when the wind passes through the panel, the positively charged droplets are separated from the negative. This separation builds a current measuring nearly 200,000 volts, which is then transferred to the electrical grid on shore.
In a study published by Nature Energy, a survey reported that 163 wind power experts from around the world expect the cost of the energy source to drop by 2030. By then, they expect onshore and offshore turbines to grow, leading to more energy generation.
The experts expect these costs to drop to anywhere between 24-30%.
Approximately 4.3 percent of the world’s power supply is fueled by wind energy, having quadrupled in the last decade, say the study’s authors. Regulatory policies helped the increase, but now the wind power structures are becoming more and more probable as technological advancements continue to be made in the favor of renewable energy as well as a global economic recovery since the recession.
With increasing concern regarding climate change and the use of fossil fuels, organizations like the International Energy Agency and Global Wind Energy Council have estimated that 6-15% of global energy production could come from wind by 2040. By 2050 they believe that wind energy could grow to 17-31%.