Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Study Shows How Wind Turbines Can Provide Energy For At Least a Quarter-Century

Business

A London college has evidence to dispel notions that wind turbines only have decade-long lives.

According to new research from Imperial College, most turbines can last up to a quarter of a century.

In fact, the United Kingdom's oldest turbines, built in the early '90s, are still going strong, producing three-quarters of their original output after 19 years of spinning. That's nearly twice the amount previously claimed, according to Imperial.

Turbines on the Arnish Moor wind farm in the United Kingdom. Photo credit: Lews Castle UHI/Flickr Creative Commons

The Imperial study says that newer, updated turbines are performing better and could have an even longer shelf life.

"Wind farms are an important source of renewable energy," said Dr Iain Staffell, co-author of the paper and a research fellow at Imperial College Business School. "In contrast, our dwindling supply of fossil fuels leaves the UK vulnerable to price fluctuations and with a costly import bill."

There are 4,246 individual wind turbines in the UK on 531 wind farms, according to Imperial. They generate 7.5 percent of the nation's electricity.

Imperial researchers analyzed the UK's turbine fleet using local wind speed data from NASA. Collecting data from a 20-year-period, the researchers measured the wind speed at the exact site of each onshore wind farm in the UK. They compared it with output data from each farm to create a formula that analyzed how wear and tear impacts turbine performance. 

A previous study's statistical model estimated that output from wind turbines declines by one-third after a decade of operation. That sort of data partly inspired Imperial because it has an adverse effect on industry investment.

"In the past, it has been difficult for investors to work out whether wind farms are an attractive investment," Staffell said. "Our study provides some certainty, helping investors to see that wind farms are an effective long-term investment and a viable way to help the UK tackle future energy challenges."

The research team wants to study newer wind farms for a longer time frame to see how technological advancements affect turbine operation.

"There have been concerns about the costs of maintaining aging wind farms and whether they are worth investing in," said Richard Green, a professor, co-author and head of the Department of Management at Imperial College Business School.

"This study gives a ‘thumbs up' to the technology and shows that renewable energy is an asset for the long term."

Visit EcoWatch’s RENEWABLES page for more related news on this topic.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Marco Bottigelli / Moment / Getty Images

By James Shulmeister

Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change.

If you have a question you'd like an expert to answer, please send it to climate.change@stuff.co.nz

Read More Show Less
Luxy Images / Getty Images

By Jo Harper

Investment in U.S. offshore wind projects are set to hit $78 billion (€69 billion) this decade, in contrast with an estimated $82 billion for U.S. offshore oil and gasoline projects, Wood Mackenzie data shows. This would be a remarkable feat only four years after the first offshore wind plant — the 30 megawatt (MW) Block Island Wind Farm off the coast of Rhode Island — started operating in U.S. waters.

Read More Show Less
Giacomo Berardi / Unsplash

The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed both the strengths and limitations of globalization. The crisis has made people aware of how industrialized food production can be, and just how far food can travel to get to the local supermarket. There are many benefits to this system, including low prices for consumers and larger, even global, markets for producers. But there are also costs — to the environment, workers, small farmers and to a region or individual nation's food security.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Joe Leech

The human body comprises around 60% water.

It's commonly recommended that you drink eight 8-ounce (237-mL) glasses of water per day (the 8×8 rule).

Read More Show Less

By Michael Svoboda

The enduring pandemic will make conventional forms of travel difficult if not impossible this summer. As a result, many will consider virtual alternatives for their vacations, including one of the oldest forms of virtual reality – books.

Read More Show Less
Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility on Thursday accused NOAA of ignoring its own scientists' findings about the endangerment of the North Atlantic right whale. Lauren Packard / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

By Julia Conley

As the North Atlantic right whale was placed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's list of critically endangered species Thursday, environmental protection groups accusing the U.S. government of bowing to fishing and fossil fuel industry pressure to downplay the threat and failing to enact common-sense restrictions to protect the animals.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Pexels

By Beth Ann Mayer

Since even moderate-intensity workouts offer a slew of benefits, walking is a good choice for people looking to stay healthy.

Read More Show Less