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Taming the turbulence

New technology helps wind turbines adjust to shifting wind directions.
Written by Harry Fuller, Contributor

Their Viking ancestors tamed the wild North Atlantic in open boats and today's Danes are working on taming turbulence so their wind turbines can be more efficient in producing electricity. Using a laser-based anemometer a new variety of "smart" wind turbine has been tested in Denmark and it has been able to track gusty, shifting winds.

This technology can enable turbines to have longer blades. Overall it may lead to a 5% increase in wind turbine efficiency.

This wind energy research and testing is being done at the Riso National Laboratory for Sustainable Energy in Denmark. That country gets 20% of its domestic energy from wind. In addition Denmark produces about 40% of the world's wind turbines.

AMERICAN WIND POWER Below is map from the EIA on where windpower can be found on public land in the Continental United States. And the map shows where wind power's near existing, major transmission lines. That lessens infrastructure costs to get that electricity to where it's needed. Much of the wind power is in less populated parts of the country. But there is a lot of it. Just click on map for larger view.

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