The Economist magazine has a possible solution to using land for power generating windmills … Put them in the sky!
If it ever seems windy where you live, be thankful you do not live 10km up in the air. At that height, the jet-stream winds blow stronger and more constantly than ground level winds, carrying up to a hundred times more energy.
So, just as oil companies are drilling deeper and in more remote locations in search of new reserves, pioneer wind-power engineers are looking higher in the sky for new sources of energy. Conventional turbines will not take them there–the highest to date is just over 200 metres tall. So they are trying to invent a whole new technology for harvesting wind: electricity generators that fly.
One of the most ambitious ideas has been developed by Sky WindPower, a company based in San Diego and led by Dave Shepard. Mr Shepard began his career cracking Japanese military codes during the Second World War, then developed machines for reading written text. His work led to the squared-off numbers still seen on bank cards today.
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