Jet Stream Wind Power Is 16 Times Ground

Helium tethered generator
Helium tethered high altitude wind power generator.
A Wired News article, “High-Altitude Wind Machines Could Power New York City,” is also displayed at the CNN Tech section.

“The very best ground-based wind sites have a wind-power density of less than 1 kilowatt per square meter of area swept. Up near the jet stream above New York, the wind power density can reach 16 kilowatts per square meter.”

The Magenn Power, Inc. site claims even more energy potential than just for the Big Apple.

“There is enough energy in high altitude winds to power civilization 100 times over; and sooner or later, we’re going to learn to tap into the power of winds and use it to run civilization.” Says Ken Caldeira, Professor of Global Ecology at the Carnegie Institution for Science. (Discovery Channel, Project Earth, Infinite Winds episode)

Ground-based wind turbines may still make sense as lowly investments we can make individually that will keep lights and other devices powered, even in an uncertain economy. Thus some analysts describe home solar and wind systems as good retirement assets. In the Wired News story, the first scientific assessment of high altitude wind potential is described.

“The resource is really, really phenomenal,” said Cristina Archer of Cal State University-Chico, who co-authored a paper on the work published in the open-access journal Energies.”There is a lot of energy up there, but it’s not as steady as we thought. It’s not going to be the silver bullet that will solve all of our energy problems, but it will have a role.”

The Energies article contains a link to a large PDF titled, “Atlas of high altitude wind power,” with maps of wind power density organized by altitude.

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