Keywords: life cycle assessment, LCA, wind turbines, wind parks, environmental impact, energy payback, sustainable manufacturing, transport, installation, maintenance, end of life, wind energy, wind power
Comparative life cycle assessment of 2.0 MW wind turbines
Wind turbines produce energy with virtually no emissions, however, there are environmental impacts associated with their manufacture, installation, and end of life. The work presented examines life cycle environmental impacts of two 2.0 MW wind turbines. Manufacturing, transport, installation, maintenance, and end of life have been considered for both models and are compared using the ReCiPe 2008 impact assessment method. In addition, energy payback analysis was conducted based on the cumulative energy demand and the energy produced by the wind turbines over 20 years. Life cycle assessment revealed that environmental impacts are concentrated in the manufacturing stage, which accounts for 78% of impacts. The energy payback period for the two turbine models are found to be 5.2 and 6.4 months, respectively. Based on the assumptions made, the results of this study can be used to conduct an environmental analysis of a representative wind park to be located in the US Pacific Northwest.