Comparing energy payback
The long term impact on the environment for a wind turbine’s life cycle of 20 years is minimal when compared to that from average European electricity production by other means.
The energy balance of a wind power plant will show the relationship between the energy requirement over the whole life cycle of the power plant (i.e. to manufacture, operate, service and dispose) versus the energy generated by the wind power plant. This energy payback period is measured in months, where the energy requirement for the life cycle of the power plant equals the energy it has produced.
For wind turbines the breakeven time of for instance a V80-2.0MW wind power plant is 8.6 months for low wind conditions. Over the life cycle of a V80-2.0MW wind power plant it will return 28 times more energy back to society than it consumed over its life cycle. So when 1 kWh is invested in a wind energy solution you get 28 kWh in return. Whereas if you invest 1kWh in coal you get 0.42 kWh in return.
Comparing energy payback by sources
The Offshore Valuation: A valuation of the UK’s offshore renewable energy resource. Published in the United Kingdom 2010 by the Public Interest Research Centre. ISBN 978-0-9503648-8-9 www.offshorevaluation.org PE (2006). PE International - GaBi 4 dataset documentation for the software-system and databases, LBP, University of Stuttgart and PE INTERNATIONAL GmbH