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Wind turbines - a great advantage to the environment


A V90-3.0 MW offshore wind turbine has to produce electricity for just 6.8 months, before it has produced as much energy as used throughout its design lifetime. In other words this turbine model earns its own worth more than 35 times during its design lifetime.

Furthermore, compared to the V80-2.0 MW offshore wind turbine, the 6.8 months constitutes an improvement of approximately 2.2 months.

If installed on a good site, the V90-3.0 MW wind turbine will generate approximately 280,000 MWh in 20 years - thus sparing the environment the impact of a net volume of approximately 230,000 tons of CO2, as compared to the figures for energy generated by a coal-fired power station.

The above-mentioned are two of the results from a life cycle assessment (LCA), which Vestas completed of a V90-3.0 MW wind turbine in 2004. The calculations prove the environmental advantages of Vestas turbines also when taking the whole life cycle into consideration.

A life cycle assessment is both a mapping and an evaluation of the potential impact of the wind turbine on the external environment throughout its lifetime. The life cycle assessment for the V90-3.0 MW wind turbine is divided into four phases.

  • The production phase, which covers the period from obtaining the raw materials to the completion of the wind turbine
  • Transport of the wind turbine components and erection of the wind turbine
  • Operation and maintenance throughout the 20-year design lifetime of the wind turbine
  • Disposal of the wind turbine.

Svend Sigaard, President and CEO of Vestas Wind Systems A/S, finds that the positive results reflect that Vestas lives up to its goal of improving both the competitiveness and the environmentally friendliness of the wind turbines. “The life cycle assessments are used as a natural and important decision-making tool in product development and in the choice of production technology,” says Svend Sigaard and informs that Vestas plans to make life cycle assessments of all wind turbines in the product range.

“With life cycle assessments of our wind turbines, we have an excellent tool to compare the products and estimate how big an advantage our wind power systems are to the environment,” says Svend Sigaard.

The life cycle assessments for the V90-3.0 MW and V80-2.0 MW wind turbines are published on the Vestas Web site at under the heading “Environment”.

Any questions may be addressed to the Executive Management at Vestas Wind Systems A/S, telephone +45 9730 0000.

Facts about the Vestas Group’s work with environment and occupational health & safety:

Vestas develops and manufactures wind power systems that generate sustainable energy for consumers throughout the world. In 2004, Vestas delivered 2,784 MW. The power generated annually by these turbines corresponds to the annual electricity consumption of approximately 2.1 million Danish households (Energistatistik 2003 (Energy Statistics 2003), which is published by the Danish Energy Agency, states that the average annual energy consumption of a Danish household is 3,430 kilowatt hours (kWh). The power generated annually by the turbines delivered by Vestas in 2004 corresponds to savings of approximately 4,009,000 tons of CO2 in relation to the average electricity generated in Europe. This calculation is based on the fact that the various other sources of electricity generation in Europe results in emissions of 548 grams of CO2 per kWh (source: Work report from the Danish Environmental Protection Agency No. 27, 2002). Vestas considers it natural for the Group to communicate its consideration for environmental and occupational health and safety aspects in the development, manufacture, sale, erection and service & maintenance of its wind turbines. That is why Vestas publishes an annual environmental statement that describes environmental and occupational health and safety aspects at Vestas Wind Systems A/S. The environmental statements are available on under the heading ”Environment”.

Pia Guldbæk Brøns | Vestas Wind Systems A/S
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