Winds of change: Australia could become wind power leader

Warming temperatures caused by climate change are set to weaken wind energy in the northern hemisphere while strengthening Australia’s wind power potential, according to ABC News.

Professor Kris Karnauskas from the University of Colorado’s Oceans and Climate Lab worked on the study published in the journal Nature Geoscience.

“Wind usually derives its energy from an instability in the atmosphere, and in the northern hemisphere a major source of that instability is the equator to pole temperature difference,” he said.

“We all know that the tropics are warmer than the arctic, but because the artic is warming at a much faster rate than the rest of the world — including the tropics and the latitudes — that temperature gradient is lessening.

“That is a well known phenomenon called polar amplification, or artic amplification.”

The research is the first global study to project the impact of temperature rises on wind energy.

It found in the southern hemisphere the difference between the average land and sea temperature was increasing, which would increase wind production.

In the southern hemisphere, greenhouse gas warming was expected to increase the temperature over land faster than over the ocean.

For Australia, Professor Karnauskas said he expected there would be a boom in wind energy for the north-east of the country.

“This information may prove key in allocating resources and planning, for example where and when to build new farms and how to deal with differed maintenance with older wind farms,” he said.

“And helping to fine-tune the blend of renewables supporting the every growing regional energy consumption.

“It doesn’t mean wind energy should take the place of any other part of the portfolio that’s in a strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”