Wind turbines 'good for 25 years'

Wind turbines are demonstrating effective levels of productivity throughout a 25-year lifespan and can be long-term investable assets, a new study from London’s Imperial College shows.

Researchers at Imperial College Business School compared 20 years-worth of wind speed data with performance figures from the UK’s turbine fleet.

The study found that Britain’s oldest onshore turbines – installed in the 1990s – are still producing 75% of their original output after 19 years of operation and are on course to operate effectively up to 25 years.

“This is comparable to the performance of gas turbines used in power stations,” said Imperial College.

The London team said its data suggests that newer turbines are performing even better – and claims its research using NASA-provided wind speeds demolishes an earlier study that used statistical analysis to predict a steep fall in turbine output after just a decade.

Richard Green, co-author and head of the Department of Management at Imperial College Business School, said: "There have been concerns about the costs of maintaining ageing wind farms and whether they are worth investing in.

“This study gives a 'thumbs up' to the technology and shows that renewable energy is an asset for the long term."

The Imperial team now plans to study newer wind farms over longer periods, assessing the impact of turbine technology advances and attempting to provide more accurate estimates of productive lifespans for investors.