It’s possible that, aside from providing a renewable source of clean energy, wind turbines may be able to play a role in slowing oncoming hurricanes and their effects. Simulations done by Stanford professor of civil and environmental engineering Mark Jacobson have found that turbines may actually help to slow the speed of the winds coming from hurricanes. And since turbines tend to sit just offshore, this would slow the winds before they reached the mainland, where they are the most destructive.

The amount of turbines that would need to be built would be huge — Jacobson’s study found that 78,000 turbines would have been required on the Gulf Coast to seriously cut back the damage from Hurricane Katrina. But unlike other proposed measures, like a sea wall, the wind turbines would pay for themselves by producing clean energy.

While separate studies found that hurricanes could do significant damage to a small number of the turbines themselves in the Gulf Coast, a similar risk wouldn’t exist for the East Coast. So those of us in the East wouldn’t need to worry about quite as many Hurricane Sandy’s in the future.

Can we please get moving a bit faster on wind energy, already?

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