Could Hurricanes like Gonzalo be a Potential Source for Wind Energy?



Can hurricanes be tamed? Hurricane Gonzalo which took place in the month of October 2014 is the latest hurricane which made the headlines. A recent research shows that wind turbines can prevent damages as well as harness wind energy from hurricanes. Hurricanes are another form of the ferocious acts conceived by Mother Nature and can be as devastating as a Tsunami. More than the loss of lives, it is the collateral damage that sometimes result in losses of billions of dollars that make these furies of nature a great concern for the environmentalists and governments.

A Satellite Image of Hurricane Gonzalo taken from the International Space Station

Hurricanes are segregated into Categories from 1 to 5 based on the severity with 5 being the highest. US coastline, especially in the North Atlantic Basin, experiences most of these hurricanes. Hurricane Katrina of 2005 and the Great Miami Hurricane of 1926 are two of the most damaging hurricanes ever seen.

Hurricane Gonzalo which took place in the month of October 2014 is the latest hurricane which made the headlines. The hurricane occurred in the Caribbean Sea and had destructive impacts in the Lesser Antilles, British Overseas Territory of Bermuda and Great Britain.

Hurricane Katrina of 2005 and the Great Miami Hurricane of 1926 are two of the most damaging hurricanes ever seen.

With strong winds peaking 145 mph (230 km/h) Hurricane Gonzalo came under Category 4, which is termed as a major hurricane. It all started on the 12th of October and finally subsided on the 25th near central Bermuda.

The estimated damages in Bermuda alone were said to be something between $200 million and $400 million insured losses. 3 people lost their lives in Britain due to injuries. Below is a raw video footage of Hurricane Gonzalo.

These types of occurrences cannot be stopped. But is there a silver lining to such hurricanes? It was found that when Hurricane Gonzalo made its landfall in the regions of UK, the UK wind energy companies had to shut down their Wind Turbines.

The reason? Well, as the hurricanes generate massive amounts of wind energy, there was surplus electricity being generated which was more than what the National Grid could handle and in turn, could have overloaded the power stations.  Some of the biggest UK Wind Farm Companies were paid approximately £5million for switching off their wind turbines.

For the Entire Story Read  – How Hurricane Gonzalo Helped Wind Firm Companies Earn £5 Million

So what does all this signify? Energy sources such as Wind Energy and Solar Energy have a lot of potential for producing electricity in the future. With surging demands for electricity globally, there is plenty of scope for wind power. Along with producing electricity, wind energy is also useful in the field of agriculture to pump water.


Wind energy has a long history that goes back 7000 years when it was used for moving boats up and down the River Nile. It is believed that windmills were used in China and Persia way back in 2000 BC.

Much before the Industrial Revolution, various kinds of sailings ships have explored the globe, traded goods and even fought battles with the help of this valuable energy source. Windmills later emerged in Europe and the Middle East in the second millennia.

And today, wind energy is one of the fastest growing energy sources in the world and according to the US Department of Energy’s Wind and Water program, it is generating billions of BTU’s (British Thermal Units) annually.

Whitelee Wind Farm is the largest on-shore wind farm in the UK

Here are some interesting facts about Wind Energy:

Power Unlimited: There is so much on-shore wind available in the US that it can produce electricity more than 10 times for the entire country.

Affordable: Wind energy is one of the cheapest sources of energy available today. It has been reported that in 2013, the cost of wind energy for power contracts have seen drastic reduction. In some areas of the US the cost was as low as 2.5 cents per kilowatt-hour.

Reduction in Green House emissions: According to American Wind Energy Association, wind energy would reduce the dangerous Green House Emissions. By 2030, about 7,600 million tonnes of CO2 would be avoided and more than 15,000 million tonnes by the year 2050.

Conservation of Water: Water which is another valuable resource is extensively used for generating electricity. By using wind energy, approximately 8% or 4 trillion gallons of water consumption could be reduced by 2030.

wind energy is one of the fastest growing energy sources in the world.

Reduction in Natural Gas Prices: We have seen a significant increase in the gas prices due to the Natural Gas Boom. Harnessing wind energy has all the potential to turn that around. If made available in abundance it can decrease the demand of natural gas, thereby reducing the prices by 12% which in turn would save the consumers approximately $130 billion.

Generate Employment: Harnessing of wind energy will require setting up of large number of turbines and other components which in turn will generate a large number of employment opportunities.

Just imagine, if by using advanced technology in the future we could store the massive amounts of wind energy generated by these hurricanes and even prevent the destruction caused by them, countries could solve their energy problems forever and be free from hurricane threats. A simulation created by Stanford University shows how the hurricanes could be tamed using wind turbines thus preventing collateral damage.

The simulation shows that not only wind turbines would help in the collection of wind energy but as an added benefit they will also be reducing the wind speeds of these hurricanes, thus preventing billions of dollars in damages. Alternative energy sources like wind and solar energy have proven to be much cleaner sources of energy, a kind of boon which our over-burdened environment requires on an urgent basis.


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