Report: Massive offshore wind farms could weaken hurricanes

Large-scale offshore wind turbines could protect coastal cities by slowing hurricane wind speeds by up to 92 mph and storm surge by as much as 79 percent, according to a study published in Nature Climate Change.

An article by Global Energy News says that if New Orleans had been shielded by one of the enormous wind farms in 2005, Hurricane Katrina would have been reduced to “strong but not devastating winds.”

The same would have held true for coasts of New York and New Jersey in 2012 when Hurricane Sandy hit.

However, Global Energy News reports that tens of thousands of the turbines would have to be installed to provide that kind of protection.

The study is the first to demonstrate that wind farms, deployed on a grand scale, can buffer violent hurricanes, researchers told Global Energy News. Researchers simulated the impact from farms of tens of thousands of turbines, placed miles offshore and along the coast of cities vulnerable to hurricanes.

The scientists found if enough turbine blades are installed, the blades can extract enough energy from the wind to have a marked effect on the internal dynamics of a storm, the article says. And the wind turbines would be able to function during the storm.