A Life Cycle Co-Benefits Assessment of Wind Power in China

Journal Article

Title: A Life Cycle Co-Benefits Assessment of Wind Power in China
Publication Date:
January 01, 2015
Journal: Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews
Volume: 41
Pages: 338-346
Publisher: Elsevier

Document Access

Website: External Link


Xue, B.; Ma, Z.; Geng, Y.; Heck, P.; Ren, W.; Tobias, M.; Maas, A.; Jiang, P.; de Oliveira, J.; Fujita, T. (2015). A Life Cycle Co-Benefits Assessment of Wind Power in China. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 41, 338-346.

Wind power can help ensure regional energy security and also mitigate both global greenhouse gas and local air pollutant emissions, leading to co-benefits. With rapid installation of wind power equipment, it is critical to uncover the embodied emissions of greenhouse gas and air pollutants from wind power sector so that emission mitigation costs can be compared with a typical coal-fired power plant. In order to reach such a target, we conduct a life cycle analysis for wind power sector by using the Chinese inventory standards. Wind farms only release 1/40 of the total CO2 emissions that would be produced by the coal power system for the same amount of power generation, which is equal to 97.48% of CO2 emissions reduction. Comparing with coal power system, wind farms can also significantly reduce air pollutants (SO2, NOX and PM10), leading to 80.38%, 57.31% and 30.91% of SO2, NOX and PM10 emissions reduction, respectively. By considering both recycling and disposal, wind power system could reduce 2.74×104 t of CO2 emissions, 5.65×104 kg of NOX emissions, 2.95×105 kg of SO2 emissions and 7.97×104 kg of PM10 emissions throughout its life cycle. In terms of mitigation cost, a wind farm could benefit 37.14 US$ from mitigating 1ton of CO2 emissions. The mitigation cost rates of air pollutants were 7.94 US$/kg of SO2, 10.79 US$/kg of NOx, and 80.79 US$/kg of PM10.Our research results strongly support the development of wind power so that more environmental benefits can be gained. However, decentralized wind power developers should consider not only project locations close to the demand of electricity and wind resources, but also the convenient transportation for construction and recycling, while centralized wind power developers should focus on incorporating wind power into the grids in order to avoid wind power loss.

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