ManagEnergy – Renewable Energy

Wind Turbine Vs Coal For Power Generation




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wind turbine vs coal

Coal-fired power plants burn fuel to generate electricity, emitting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere with each operation.

Wind turbines, on the other hand, don’t emit carbon pollution once operational. Instead, most of their emissions occur during production.

Wind energy is more climate friendly than coal or natural gas, as well as a cleaner way to replace older, dirtier sources of power.


Wind turbines are an increasingly cost-effective renewable energy source that has seen a surge in popularity. Their costs have dropped substantially, which is great news for all stakeholders.

In the United States, wind power’s average cost per megawatt-hour (MWh) is now less than half that of coal and about one-third that of gas generation. And with more and more turbines coming online, prices are expected to keep dropping.

According to a new report from the International Renewable Energy Agency, almost two thirds of all new wind and solar projects built globally last year can produce electricity at lower costs than even the world’s cheapest coal plants. This could potentially eliminate the need for 800 gigawatts of coal-fired power plants around the world.

This study revealed that the Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE) for coal-fired generation ranged from $113 to $220 per MWh this year, while wind LCOEs ranged from $29 to $56 and solar LCOEs from $31 to $44.

Wind turbines produce electricity at a lower cost than coal-fired generation due to their efficiency. Wind farms generally employ fewer personnel and require only a fraction of the infrastructure necessary for coal plants, providing electricity at much cheaper prices.

Another advantage of wind turbines is that they don’t create air pollutants, making them a better option for the environment than coal generation does. Coal combustion emits 2.4 kg of sulphur dioxide and 3.2 kg of nitrogen oxide per MWh of electricity generated; wind generation does not produce either of those.

Coal production generates 0.1 kg of particulate matter per MWh, while wind generation doesn’t emit any at all.

These figures were calculated by researchers at Harvard University and the Center for Technology Assessment, both with extensive expertise in energy projects. They examined how much climate impact a new wind farm would cause, the cost of air pollution avoided and any health damage resulting from those emissions.

Results revealed a net benefit for climate change with $39 per MWh avoided emissions and an estimated warming effect of approximately 0.06degC per decade. Furthermore, wind farms were beneficial to human health too, with an estimated reduction in hospitalization costs and lost workdays attributable to their presence.


Wind power is a renewable source that displaces fossil fuels and emits very little carbon pollution during its lifespan – in fact, it becomes virtually carbon-free after three to six months in operation.

Wind turbines produce only eight to 20 grams of CO2 emissions per kilowatt-hour of electricity generated, compared with around 1000g for coal and 475g for natural gas. This is because wind energy does not create greenhouse gas emissions during manufacturing or construction like fossil fuel-fired plants do.

The other significant distinction lies in the mode of transportation used to bring raw materials and equipment to a plant. This could range from trucks, trains or ships depending on distances involved.

Finland, which has installed the highest number of wind turbines in Europe, accounts for 86% of life cycle emissions associated with wind energy from extraction of raw materials and manufacture. The remaining 14% comes from transport, installation, operations and maintenance as well as decommissioning.

According to research by the Finnish Institute of Technology Helsinki, replacing all electricity generated from Finland’s coal- and natural gas-fired power plants with wind would result in 700 gCO2/kWh reductions in climate change emissions.

Wind power not only replaces existing plants, it also displaces older, less-polluting sources that provide electricity to the grid. For instance, if a new wind farm links up with an electricity grid, it could replace decades-old coal plants that supplied power for nearby cities with cleaner sources of energy.

Researchers estimate that coal and natural gas-fired power plants, along with other displaced sources, contribute up to 10 billion tons of carbon pollution annually in the United States alone. Thus, it’s imperative to replace them with cleaner, more efficient and lower-polluting alternatives.

Wind energy is the most sustainable form of power, as it produces almost zero carbon during its lifespan. This makes wind energy much lower in greenhouse gas emissions than any other renewable source such as solar or hydropower – making it a prime candidate for green building initiatives.

Scientists use a life cycle assessment (LCA) to evaluate the sustainability of renewable energy projects. This assessment takes into account all steps involved in creating and decommissioning the project, from raw material extraction through decommissioning. Through these studies, scientists estimate how many metric tons of carbon dioxide are produced over each project’s lifetime and if it’s eco-friendly or not.


Wind turbines have become an increasingly popular energy source, producing renewable energy at lower costs than other sources. Yet despite these advantages, reliability and maintainability remain major concerns for wind turbine manufacturers, operators, and researchers.

Reliability engineers and researchers utilize field data, experiments, and analytical techniques to predict product failure rates under specific conditions and then collaborate with design engineers on making those products more robust. Fortunately, wind turbine reliability has improved drastically in recent decades; now they can run for decades with little upkeep required.

Wind farms can be unpredictable when it comes to reliability. During extreme weather events like blizzards or hurricanes, it may take longer for turbines to start up again.

Therefore, when assessing wind farm performance, it’s essential to take into account the reliability of its turbines and subassemblies. To calculate LCOE (Levelized Cost of Energy), which is a commonly used tool in this regard, one must combine output, operating expenses (OPEX), and initial capital costs into one number that can be compared with other power sources or renewable energy technologies.

To assess the reliability of WTs, several data sources are available: alarm event rates from supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems, maintenance logs, and failure reports. These historical events are summarized for reliability studies and presented as failure rate – that is, the number of failures per turbine per unit time – or downtime – which refers to time when a turbine does not generate power due to an issue.

Data sources often report reliability statistics for individual subassemblies and fail-to-start rates separately. On the other hand, databases often combine all subassemblies together and present a single statistic for the entire turbine.

Another issue is the inconsistent definitions of key performance indicators (KPIs) across different sources. For instance, a database may categorize rotor information into separate categories for blades, hub, air brakes and pitch systems – which while this may reduce variables in an analysis it could also lead to unreliable outcomes.


Wind turbines are an environmentally friendly energy source, offering utilities a sustainable solution to generate power. They displace less climate friendly sources like coal and natural gas plants while discharging carbon emissions that would otherwise harm communities. As such, wind turbines make sense for utilities looking to reduce their carbon emissions and improve community health at the same time.

Wind energy’s lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions are much lower than those from coal or natural gas, especially when considering coal-fired generation which emits a substantial amount of carbon pollution each time it runs.

This suggests that replacing a coal plant with a wind farm has an enormous effect on carbon dioxide emissions. A Harvard research team determined that coal-fired power plants generate approximately 1,000 grams of CO2 per kilowatt-hour (g/kWh), as opposed to 11 grams/kWh from wind energy sources.

Wind power is also safer than coal. It produces fewer deaths per terawatt-hour than all forms of energy combined, including coal, oil and gas.

Furthermore, biogas is less toxic than all three fuels combined. It doesn’t produce sulphur dioxide, nitrous oxide or particulate matter that can clog airways; additionally, it doesn’t release mercury, arsenic or other heavy metals into the environment.

However, wind energy does come at a higher cost than other renewable sources of energy. For instance, building a wind turbine requires around $45,000 and replacing its blades after 10 years is estimated to cost about $6,000.

Furthermore, wind-generated power often comes with a carbon tax which some utilities find costly to pay.

By covering the additional costs associated with renewable energy sources, governments can incentivize businesses to invest in them and create jobs. Furthermore, this makes renewable sources more accessible and cost-effective for consumers as well.

Companies can become more sustainable through various measures, such as using renewable energy, encouraging diversity and fairness in the workplace, and giving back to local communities. These activities not only promote environmental and social responsibility but may even increase profits for a business. Moreover, these strategies reduce long-term expenses for the firm.

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