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Conclusions of a recent report (by Siemens) that assesses the life cycle performance of an average European onshore power plant, equipped with Siemens SWT-2.3-108 wind turbines.

Rated turbine power: 2.3 MW
Average wind speed: 8.5 m/s
Number of turbines: 20
Expected lifetime: 20 years
Tower: 99.5 m
Blades: 53 m
Foundation: 1,350 ton (concrete, steel)

Total electricity production: 4,000 GWh (entire plant over 20 years lifetime)

Equating 1 kWh with one man-day of hard physical labour, we can conclude that this rather small wind-power plant will generate more energy (4 billion work-day equivalent) than the entire global adult male population can generate on one day in a tread-mill. Assuming that a year has 250 workdays, or 5000 days in 20 years, we can conclude that this plant is the equivalent of 800,000 virtual energy slaves.

CO2 production: 5 g/kwh versus 865 g/kwh (fossil power production)
The CO2 reduction of the plant above is equal to 125 km2 forest.

windturbine-co2-breakdown
Breakdown wind-turbine CO2 production (mostly materials)

Editor: at a typical consumer electricity price in Europe of ca. 25 euro cent/kwh, the total electricity production of the plant discussed over 20 years amounts to 1 billion euro. The combined installed wind power is 20 * 2.3 = 46 MW. Assuming a wind power installation cost of 1.25 million euro/MW, the price of this plant would be 58.5 million euro, that is merely 6% of total end consumer price. No wonder that German energy giant E.ON has decided that it will abandon coal, gas, oil and nuclear energy production altogether. Wind and solar are cost competitive with fossil, certainly in resource starved Europe. The real challenge is storage and promoting public acceptance.

[energy.siemens.com] – A clean energy solution – from cradle to grave [pdf]

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