Global potential for wind-generated electricity

Xi Lu, Michael B. McElroy, Juha Kiviluoma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

412 Citations (Scopus)


The potential of wind power as a global source of electricity is assessed by using winds derived through assimilation of data from a variety of meteorological sources. The analysis indicates that a network of land-based 2.5-megawatt (MW) turbines restricted to nonforested, ice-free, nonurban areas operating at as little as 20% of their rated capacity could supply >40 times current worldwide consumption of electricity, >5 times total global use of energy in all forms. Resources in the contiguous United States, specifically in the central plain states, could accommodate as much as 16 times total current demand for electricity in the United States. Estimates are given also for quantities of electricity that could be obtained by using a network of 3.6-MW turbines deployed in ocean waters with depths <200 m within 50 nautical miles (92.6 km) of closest coastlines.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10933-10938
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number27
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jul 2009
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • wind energy
  • wind power


Dive into the research topics of 'Global potential for wind-generated electricity'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this