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Edinburgh University study — Wind turbines’ lifespan far shorter than wind industry states (Gee, what a surprise!!!)

M. McKay — The Courier — December 29, 2012

SCOTLAND’S LANDSCAPE could be blighted by the rotting remains of a failed regeneration of windfarms, according to a scathing new report.

A study commissioned by the Renewable Energy Foundation has found that the economic life of onshore wind turbines could be far less than that predicted by the industry.

The “groundbreaking” research was carried out by academics at Edinburgh University and saw them look at years of windfarm performance data from the UK and Denmark.

The results appear to show that the output from windfarms — allowing for variations in wind speed and site characteristics — declines substantially as they get older.

By 10 years of age, the report found that the contribution of an average UK windfarm towards meeting electricity demand had declined by a third.

That reduction in performance leads the study team to believe that it will be uneconomic to operate windfarms for more than 12 to 15 years — at odds with industry predictions of a 20- to 25-year lifespan.

They may then have to be replaced with new machinery — a finding that the foundation believes has profound consequences for investors and government alike.

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