Navigation Links
New research blows away claims that aging wind farms are a bad investment

The UK has a target of generating 15 per cent of the nation's energy from renewable resources such as wind farms by 2020. There are currently 4,246 individual wind turbines in the UK across 531 wind farms, generating 7.5 per cent of the nation's electricity.

There has been some debate about whether wind turbines have a more limited shelf-life than other energy technologies. A previous study used a statistical model to estimate that electricity output from wind turbines declines by a third after only ten years of operation. Some opponents of wind power have argued that ageing turbine technology could need replacing en masse after as little as ten years, which would make it an unattractive option in economic terms.

In a new study, researchers from Imperial College Business School carried out a comprehensive nationwide analysis of the UK fleet of wind turbines, using local wind speed data from NASA. They showed that the turbines will last their full life of about 25 years before they need to be upgraded.

The team found that the UK's earliest turbines, built in the 1990s, are still producing three-quarters of their original output after 19 years of operation, nearly twice the amount previously claimed, and will operate effectively up to 25 years. This is comparable to the performance of gas turbines used in power stations.

The study also found that more recent turbines are performing even better than the earliest models, suggesting they could have a longer lifespan. The team says this makes a strong business case for further investment in the wind farm industry.

Dr Iain Staffell, co-author of the paper and a research fellow at Imperial College Business School, said: "Wind farms are an important source of renewable energy. In contrast, our dwindling supply of fossil fuels leaves the UK vulnerable to price fluctuations and with a costly import bill. However, in the past it has been difficult for investors to work out whether wind farms are an attractive investment.

"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."

Professor Richard Green, co-author and Head of the Department of Management at Imperial College Business School, added: "There have been concerns about the costs of maintaining ageing wind farms and whether they are worth investing in. This study gives a 'thumbs up' to the technology and shows that renewable energy is an asset for the long term."

The researchers reached their conclusion using data from NASA, collected over a twenty year period, to measure the wind speed at the exact site of each onshore wind farm in the UK. They compared this with actual recorded output data from each farm and developed a formula that enabled them to calculate how wear and tear of the machinery affects the performance of the turbines. This is in contrast to the previous study, which only used the average estimates of nationwide wind speeds to determine the effects of wear and tear on wind farm infrastructure.

In the future, the team aim to study newer wind farms over a longer period to determine if advancements in turbine technology means that they are degrading less. This could help the researchers to determine more accurately how long newer wind farms will last so that they can calculate their potential long-term economic benefits.


Contact: Maxine Myers
Imperial College London

Related biology news :

1. Study by UC Santa Barbara researchers suggests that bacteria communicate by touch
2. Research reveals first evidence of hunting by prehistoric Ohioans
3. Diabetes Research Institute develops oxygen-generating biomaterial
4. APS issues new policy requiring identification of sex or gender in reporting scientific research
5. UC Santa Barbara researchers discover genetic link between visual pathways of hydras and humans
6. Study jointly led by UCSB researcher supports theory of extraterrestrial impact
7. U of Alberta researcher steps closer to understand autoimmune diseases
8. Research on flavanols and procyanidins provides new insights into how these phytonutrients may positively impact human health
9. A project to research biological and chemical aspects of microalgae to fuel approach
10. Scripps Research discoveries lead to newly approved drug for infant respiratory distress syndrome
11. Researchers attempt to solve problems of antibiotic resistance and bee deaths in one
Post Your Comments:
(Date:10/5/2015)... 5, 2015 ) ... NXT-ID, Inc. (NASDAQ: NXTD ), a biometric authentication ... --> ) releases the following ... NXTD ), a biometric authentication company focused on the ... Group ( ) releases the following ...
(Date:9/30/2015)... -- The global glucose monitoring device and diabetes management market is ... report on the industry from Kalorama Information. Sales in the traditional ... by continuous glucose monitoring and sensor segment, according to the ... products in its latest report, The Global Glucose Monitoring ... , ...
(Date:9/28/2015)... -- The global image sensors market ... by 2020, growing at a CAGR of 4.6% from ... (BSI) technique to improve picture quality are expected to ...      (Logo: , The light falls ... and, thus, reduce the noise interference and increase picture ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/12/2015)... Calif. and BRUSSELS , Oct. ... (Euronext Brussels: UCB) today presented additional findings from an exploratory ... The findings were presented today in an oral plenary ... (ASBMR) 2015 Annual Meeting in Seattle . ... --> The small exploratory sub-study data showed ...
(Date:10/12/2015)... Oct. 12, 2015 This report covers the ... cell type, products, applications, end-user markets and geographic segmentation. ... The global cell expansion market generated revenue of ... reach revenues of $9.7 billion in 2015 and $22.0 ... (CAGR) of 17.8% from 2015 to 2020. This ...
(Date:10/12/2015)... ANNAPOLIS, Maryland , 12 de octubre de 2015 ... O. Matsui (D-CA) llegó a un récord en el ... tercera edición anual de la International Plasma Awareness Week ... octubre. La IPAW está patrocinada por la Plasma ... estando diseñada para: , Aumentar la ...
(Date:10/12/2015)... 12, 2015 LabStyle Innovations Corp. ... Solution, today announced its Medical Director, Dr. Moshe ... MobiHealth,s 5th EAI International Conference on Wireless Mobile ... innovations in mobile and wireless technologies," the conference will ... from October 14 - 16, 2015. The conference is ...
Breaking Biology Technology: