Continued Emissions May Cause Global North-to-South Shift in Wind Power By End of Century


The rapidly growing wind energy industry may be challenged by changes in locations of wind resources

In the next century, wind resources may decrease in many regions of the Northern Hemisphere and could sharply increase in some hotspot regions down south, according to a study by University of Colorado Boulder researchers. The first-of-its-kind study predicting how global wind power may shift with climate change appears today in Nature Geoscience.

“There's been a lot of research looking at the potential climate impact of energy production transformations—like shifting away from fossil fuels toward renewables,” said lead author Kris Karnauskas, CIRES Fellow and Assistant Professor in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences (ATOC)  at CU Boulder. “But not as much focuses on the impact of climate change on energy production by weather-dependent renewables, like wind energy.”

Wind powers only about 3.7 percent of worldwide energy consumption today, but global wind power capacity is increasing rapidly—about 20 percent a year. 

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