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Author: waterfell Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 58956  
Subject: Lifespan of wind farms Date: 2/10/2013 9:15 PM
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An analysis of 3000 wind turbines in the United Kingdom and Denmark shows the average lifespans of the turbines are significantly shorter than originally predicted, and that the capacity factor (aka load factor) greatly declines over a turbine's life.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/energy/windpower/9770837/Wi...

The analysis of almost 3,000 onshore wind turbines — the biggest study of its kind —warns that they will continue to generate electricity effectively for just 12 to 15 years.

[The usual lifespans quoted by the manufacturers are 20 to 25 years.- Pete]

Also from the Telegraph-
The report’s author, Prof Gordon Hughes, an economist at Edinburgh University and a former energy adviser to the World Bank, discovered that the "load factor" — the efficiency rating of a turbine based on the percentage of electricity it actually produces compared with its theoretical maximum — is reduced from 24 per cent in the first 12 months of operation to just 11 per cent after 15 years.

The decline in the output of offshore wind farms, based on a study of Danish wind farms, appears even more dramatic. The load factor for turbines built on platforms in the sea is reduced from 39 per cent to 15 per cent after 10 years.


More information here, including a pdf link to the full report.
http://www.ref.org.uk/publications/280-analysis-of-wind-farm...

The new nuclear power plants are designed to last 60 years, and the existing plants have already demonstrated the ability to operate past 40 years. With a lifespan of 12 to 15 years, they would need to replace the wind turbines three or more times.

- Pete
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