In a statement to HuffPost UK, Emma Pinchbeck, RenewableUK's Executive Director said: "The UK is the world leader in offshore wind and we have just built the first floating wind farm off the coast of Scotland". It was published in PNAS by Anna Possner, a researcher from the Carnegie Institute; along with Ken Caldeira, from Stanford University's Carnegie Institution for Science. Land-based turbines themselves slow the air reducing the amount of energy subsequent rows of turbines can generate. "That heat creates contrasts in temperatures... which brings more wind energy down to the surface where the wind turbines are".
In fact those ocean-based wind farms were able to generate as much as three times more energy than their land-based counterparts.
"Are the winds so fast just because there is nothing out there to slow them down?"
Wind speeds on the ocean can be as much as 70% higher than on land.
Which raises the question, would wind farms over the ocean suffer these same constraints or would the atmosphere be able to move more energy downward over the ocean?
"While no commercial-scale deep water wind farms yet exist, our results suggest that such technologies, if they became technically and economically feasible, could potentially provide civilization-scale power", say the researchers.
Possner and Caldeira's sophisticated modeling tools and compared the productivity of large Kansas wind farms to massive, theoretical open-ocean wind farms and found that in some areas ocean-based wind farms could generate at least three times more power than the ones on land.
Till date, the wind energy is obtained through wind turbines which convert the kinetic energy of the wind into mechanical power, and then the generator converts this mechanical power to electrical. Land or close-to-shore farms merely "scrape" energy from the lowest level of the atmosphere, said Caldeira; open ocean installations could "tap into the kinetic energy reservoir of the entire overlying troposphere", he claimed. This contrast in surface warming along the USA coast drives the frequent generation of cyclones or low-pressure systems, that cross the Atlantic and are very efficient in drawing the upper atmosphere's energy down to the height of the turbines. The authors identified the North Atlantic as a region where annual electricity generation rates could average more than 6 watts per square meter, despite seasonal fluctuations.