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Posted: Thursday, 27 February 2014 7:17AM

Blow away hurricanes?

A first of it's kind study says hurricane devastation could be reduced with the use of thousands of offshore wind turbines.

Stanford University engineering professor, Mark Jacobson, says his team ran computer models illustrating an array of 78 thousand wind turbines would have weakened Hurricane Katrina.

"That could have reduced the storm surge by up to... almost 80 percent and the wind speeds, locally downwind of the turbines, by more than 50 percent," according to Jacobson.

He projects 78 thousand wind turbines would have reduced hurricane Katrina's damage by 30 to 70 billion dollars.  Building thousands of 200 foot tall wind turbines is costly.  But Jacobson says they would take power from winds and give us pollution free electricity year round.  He says the sale of electricity throughout the year would and offset turbine construction costs.

There are some who argue huge seawalls would help protect cities like New Orleans from major hurricanes. But Jacobson says wind turbines are a better option, because they can produce electricity and offer better protection.

"Seawalls do not generate electricity, so (they) don't pay for themselves and they also don't reduce the wind speeds.  They only reduce the storm surge and the wind speeds are the cause of about thirty percent of the damage."


Filed Under :  
Topics : Environment
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Locations : New Orleans
People : Mark Jacobson
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