A Greenland-sized wind farm on land would struggle to produce the 7 terawatts needed to power both the US and China, the world's largest consumers of energy. But the same wind farm over the sea could produce 10 terawatts, capable of lighting up China once and the United States twice, according to a study published Monday. All told, there's enough wind energy over the sea to power all of civilization, writes Chris Mooney in the Washington Post.
Why it matters: As countries switch to renewable energy, they will run into land use issues. Wind farms and solar panels take up space, and can damage habitats or harm migrating birds. A smaller farm at sea might have different—and potentially smaller—environmental impacts than one on land. "I would look at this as kind of a greenlight for that industry from a geophysical point of view," study author Ken Caldeira told the Post.