In theory a network of kites six miles above the Earth could power the planet.
Scientists from Cal State Chico and Stanford conducted a global survey of high-altitude wind power, based on 28 years of weather reports, and found present global energy demand could be satisfied with kite-turbines over just one percent of the globe.
Airborne turbines would harvest the energy and their tethers would deliver electricity to the ground. They might look like this one, harvested from the Web site of Sky WindPower.
One of the more interesting aspects of the survey is that this energy is abundant in many places where it is most needed. New York, Tokyo, and Shanghai all have reliable jet stream winds.
There are problems, of course. These winds are not 100% reliable. You need to store excess energy so it can be used when needed. I have suggested hydrogen as one way to do this.
The full article is in the new journal Energies, which also has the following interesting bits of research this month:
Anyone who tells you it's impossible to replace hydrocarbons, oil, gas and coal, is selling something.
This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com