According to new research from the Imperial College Business School, wind turbines can produce power for 25 years before an upgrade is needed. This is longer than previously predicted.
The researchers carried out a comprehensive analysis of the UK’s fleet of over 4,000 wind turbines, and found that the oldest ones are still producing around 75% of their electricity output after 19 years in operation. They have estimated that the turbines should last about 25 years without needing an upgrade.
Because the turbines can remain highly productive for up to 25 years, the research “blows away” some wind power detractors’ claims that wind farms are a bad financial investment. The lifespan of 25 years is comparable to gas turbines in gas-fired power stations.
Further, the study found that newer turbines are performing better than the earlier (1990s) models at the same stage, so they may end up lasting even longer than 25 years before an upgrade. The researchers intend to keep studying new wind turbines over a longer timeframe to find out if the new technology translates to greater durability.
In the meantime, the research teams maintains that the new study should help potential investors to view wind farms as an effective long-term investment, as well as a viable way to help tackle the energy challenges facing the UK, and indeed the world.