This article assesses the life cycle emissions of a fictive onshore wind power station consisting of 141.5-MW wind turbines situated on the northeastern coast of Brazil. The objective is to identify the main sources of CO2(eq)-emissions during the life cycle of the wind farm. The novelty of this work lies in the focus on Brazil and its emerging national manufacturing industry. With an electricity matrix that is primarily based on renewable energy sources (87% in 2010), this country emits eight times less CO2 for the production of 1 kWh of electricity than the global average. Although this fact jeopardizes the CO2 mitigation potential of wind power projects, it also reduces the carbon footprint of parts and components manufactured in Brazil. The analysis showed that reduced CO2-emissions in the material production stage and the low emissions of the component production stage led to a favorable CO2-intensity of 7.1 g CO2/kWh. The bulk of the emissions, a share of over 90%, were unambiguously caused by the production stage, and the transportation stage was responsible for another 6% of the CO2-emissions. The small contributions from the construction and operation phases could be neglected. Within the manufacturing process, the steel tower was identified as the source responsible for more than half of the emissions. The environmental impacts of the wind farm are small in terms of CO2-emissions, which can be credited to a green electricity mix. This scenario presents an advantage for the country and for further production sites, particularly in the surroundings of the preferred wind farm sites in Brazil, which should be favored to reduce CO2 emissions to an even greater extent.
Life cycle assessment of an onshore wind farm located at the northeastern coast of Brazil
Title: Life cycle assessment of an onshore wind farm located at the northeastern coast of Brazil
May 01, 2013
Journal: Renewable Energy
Oebels, K.; Pacca, S. (2013). Life cycle assessment of an onshore wind farm located at the northeastern coast of Brazil. Renewable Energy, 53, 60-70.