Carbon assessment of wind power
Chapman, Samuel S.B.
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The Earth is facing huge implications from Anthropogenic Global Warming and peaks in the production of finite fossil fuels. Decision-makers have to choose strategies for combating these dual problems whilst ensuring minimal costs to society and the environment. Unfortunately, renewable technologies in particular have doubt associated with their ability to reduce total life cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of electricity due to uncertainty in estimates. This thesis analyses historic associated GHG estimates of wind farms, the largest renewables contributor to electricity generation in the UK, to reduce the uncertainty inherent in estimates and better understand critical factors that influence estimation. Through harmonisation of published life cycle GHG emissions estimates, they are reduced by 56% to between 2.9 and 37.3gCO2e/kWh. Average values for onshore and offshore wind power are calculated as 16 and 18.2gCO2e/kWh respectively and exhibit similar characteristics in their life cycle GHG emissions. Ormonde Offshore Wind Farm is analysed using a novel hybrid approach and gives total baseline GHG emissions of 17.5gCO2e/kWh and is the largest wind power installation to be analysed to date. Finally, an estimate of the effect of load variability of wind on thermal plant in the UK system is calculated. It is shown that this effect may reduce the net emissions saving from wind power relative to the whole UK system’s savings when wind power is included.