Input-Output Life Cycle Environmental Assessment of Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Utility Scale Wind Energy in the United States

Journal Article

Title: Input-Output Life Cycle Environmental Assessment of Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Utility Scale Wind Energy in the United States
Publication Date:
February 01, 2016
Journal: Energy Policy
Volume: 89
Pages: 294-301
Publisher: Elsevier
Affiliation:

Document Access

Website: External Link

Citation

Kumar, I.; Tyner, W.; Sinha, K. (2016). Input-Output Life Cycle Environmental Assessment of Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Utility Scale Wind Energy in the United States. Energy Policy, 89, 294-301.
Abstract: 

Wind energy is an emerging source for renewable energy. This article presents an application of the economic input–output life cycle assessment (EIO-LCA) to estimate the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through the life cycle of wind energy farms in a state. The EIO-LCA incorporates manufacturing, installation, operation and maintenance, and decommissioning of the wind turbine over its life cycle period. In doing so, the study demonstrates that O&M and decommissioning of infrastructure with a longer life period can be considered to assess the total environmental impacts. The life cycle costs of wind turbine installation in Indiana is used in this study. The uncertainty in wind energy production, and hence the variability in GHG emission intensities in metric tons per gigawatt hour (GWh), is demonstrated by using the Monte Carlo simulation. The research finds that wind energy production is not entirely GHG emission-free if all the costs and life cycle stages are considered. Emission estimates have uncertainty, and O&M and decommissioning can add up to 200 metric tons of GHG emissions in CO2e per wind turbine life cycle. The regional EIO-LCA can be a helpful tool to determine strategies for state compliance to initiatives, such as the Clean Power Plan.

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