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This text calculates the energy in the Earth's field as about 10^17 Joules, and adds:

A typical power station is a giga watt, and the number of seconds in a year is about 3 × 10^7 so a power station running for about 3 years could generate the energy stored in the earth’s field.

So could we in principle run a few turns of cable around the planet and modify the field using what seems to be quite modest power on a rather short timescale?

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  • $\begingroup$ I don't think you appreciate the difficulty (aka "it doesn't work that way") in extracting energy from a DC field. $\endgroup$ – Carl Witthoft Mar 15 '16 at 14:11
  • $\begingroup$ Maybe not extracting but augmenting or neutralizing. Been looking at logistics, and it looks do-able. I will post my version of an answer later $\endgroup$ – user56903 Mar 15 '16 at 14:48
  • $\begingroup$ Uh-oh, looks like another what-if column is in the making :-) $\endgroup$ – Carl Witthoft Mar 15 '16 at 14:51
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Not sure why you would want to increase the field. In any case, the Earth's field is permanent. A power cable would need to be superconducting to not lose energy, it would have to be fed more power until it ramps up to the desired field, and then the current density should not exceed the max for the superconductor.

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