This paper presents specific life cycle GHG emissions from wind power generation from six different 5 MW offshore wind turbine conceptual designs. In addition, the energy performance, expressed by the energy indicators Energy Payback Ratio (EPR) Energy Payback Time (EPT), is calculated for each of the concepts.
There are currently few LCA studies in existence which analyse offshore wind turbines with rated power as great as 5 MW. The results, therefore, give valuable additional environmental information concerning large offshore wind power. The resulting GHG emissions vary between 18 and 31.4 g CO2-equivalents per kWh while the energy performance, assessed as EPR and EPT, varies between 7.5 and 12.9, and 1.6 and 2.7 years, respectively. The relatively large ranges in GHG emissions and energy performance are chiefly the result of the differing steel masses required for the analysed platforms. One major conclusion from this study is that specific platform/foundation steel masses are important for the overall GHG emissions relating to offshore wind power. Other parameters of importance when comparing the environmental performance of offshore wind concepts are the lifetime of the turbines, wind conditions, distance to shore, and installation and decommissioning activities.
Even though the GHG emissions from wind power vary to a relatively large degree, wind power can fully compete with other low GHG emission electricity technologies, such as nuclear, photovoltaic and hydro power.