Wind power in Switzerland is to be expanded as part of the Federal Government's Energy Strategy 2050. Electricity from wind power is considered to be environmentally friendly, since there are little emissions during operation of the wind power stations. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a tool to quantify and evaluate resource consumption and emissions, not only during operation, but along the entire life cycle of products. The aim of the present study is to carry out an LCA for present and future (2035) electricity produced by Swiss wind power stations. Attention is paid to the entire life cycle of wind power production, from manufacture of turbines through transport, installation and operation, up to the final disposal of the equipment. The life cycle assessment of the future wind power mix is based on three future scenarios: "expansion as planned", "Jura expansion" and "expansion of very large systems".
The results show that wind power production is among the electricity generation technologies with the lowest environmental impact. The cumulative greenhouse gas emissions per kWh of electricity produced by the station are between 8 and 32 g CO2-eq for today's large wind power stations in Switzerland. The more favourable the wind conditions at a site, the lower the environmental impact of the electricity produced. At an average of 25.9 g CO2-eq. / kWh, wind electricity from the power socket causes less than a fifth of the greenhouse gas emissions of today's consumer mix (taking into account losses in the distribution network and the transformation process). The environmental impact of wind power production is mainly due to the manufacture of power station components. In this regard, concrete towers are typically more environmentally friendly than steel towers. The environmental impacts of the estimated electricity mix for 2035 are similarly low for all the scenarios investigated. If the turbines are produced in China instead of Europe, this causes a deterioration in the global warming potential of wind power production of 31 percent. The LCAs presented in this study show that an expansion of wind energy in Switzerland can contribute to reducing the environmental intensity of Swiss electricity.