Accelerated urbanization in China has increased electricity demand. Recently, environmentally-friendly renewable energy resources have become more popular for generating power. Energy consumption and environmental impacts vary depending on the types of renewable energy, while the impacts of such variations are rarely studied in the existing literature. This study used a life-cycle perspective to analyze energy consumption and environmental impacts of wind farms and compared the results to a biomass power plant. The environmental impacts of wind power plants were further analyzed on a site by site basis, using locations in desert (G), steppe (S), and woodland (W) landscapes. The results showed that the G site had the lowest global warming potential of wind power plants at 51.547 gCO2-eq/kWh, about 60% that of the S site and 80% that of W. The global warming potential of the G site was also about 25% of the biomass power plant. Additionally, the G site had a solid waste potential of 25.248 g-eq/kWh, which is only 10% compared to the biomass plant. The results also indicated energy payback times for the G, S, and W wind farms to be 0.67, 2.40, and 1.42 years, respectively. The G site also had an acidification potential of 6.836 gSO2-eq/kWh, which was equivalent to 45% of the S site and 30% that of W. Consequently, wind farms located in the desert have the least environmental impact, followed by those located in the steppe and woodland. Accounting for energy payback time and environmental impacts, this study suggests that wind power plants should be built in desert areas when possible.
Environmental impact analysis of power generation from biomass and wind farms in different locations
Title: Environmental impact analysis of power generation from biomass and wind farms in different locations
March 01, 2019
Journal: Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews
Publisher: Elsevier Ltd.
Gao, C.; Na, H.; Song, K.; Dyer, N.; Tian, F.; Xu, Q.; Xing, Y. (2019). Environmental impact analysis of power generation from biomass and wind farms in different locations. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews , 102, 307-317.