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High-Altitude Wind Farms Could Be A Game Changer For Green Energy

By Brian Spaen

Wind power is a great renewable energy source, but it comes with one major problem: It can provide energy around the clock, given the very nature of the wind. Battery storage has been a common answer to this problem, but new studies show there could be an alternative approach to this hitch. What is it? Simply put, turbines placed higher into the air in places that can provide consistent wind power may be the solution.

Scientists from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) have been able to locate areas in the Middle East where they can have consistent energy with high-altitude wind turbines. Based on their research, data shows that these farms high in the air could generate usable power. The most favorable areas include parts over Saudi Arabia and Oman.

NASA was able to provide wind speeds at various levels, and the research team was able to determine when the best times were during the year. "Optimal altitudes for the turbines vary by region and with time of year and time of day," Andrew Yip, one of the study’s authors, told Phys.org. "In general, the abundance of the airborne wind-energy resources increases with altitude."