Valuing the Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Wind Power

Samuel Chapman; Edward Owens
The growth in both onshore and offshore wind power has been rapid over the past few decades and has led to a need for comparable, consistent and reliable life cycle carbon assessment of wind power in order to provide decision-makers with robust information. The current published estimates for wind power range from 2 to 81 gCO2e/kWh. This study reduces this range through a meta-analysis of 82 estimates gathered from 17 independent studies. Through harmonisation of lifetime, capacity factor and recycling, the published range of life cycle carbon emissions estimates is reduced by 56% to between 2.9 & 37.3 gCO2e/kWh. Average values for onshore and offshore wind power are estimated as 16 & 18.2 gCO2e/kWh respectively after harmonisation and onshore and offshore wind power technologies exhibit similar characteristics in relation to their life cycle carbon emissions. Key differences with previous studies are that this study benefits from inclusion of data from a recently published comprehensive offshore wind farm assessment, and harmonisation is conducted for recycling procedures which results in an increase in the lower band of the range of life cycle carbon emissions estimates.
Life Cycle Assessment; Wind Power; Harmonisation; Meta-Analysis
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