Keywords: environmental impact, life cycle assessment, LCA, wind energy, wind power, supplemental energy generation, supplemental energy storage, sustainable manufacturing, biomass energy, natural gas, hydropower, zinc–bromine batteries, coal power, coal energy, wind parks
Environmental impacts of integrating wind energy systems and supplemental energy generation and storage systems
Wind energy systems offer a promising alternative energy source due to the environmental, economic, and social benefits and, as a result, have garnered support for development and implementation. One of the major drawbacks of wind energy, however, is its variability due to the stochastic nature of wind, thus, supplemental energy generation or storage technologies are required. In this study, a life cycle assessment approach is applied to estimate the environmental impacts of potential supplemental energy generation (biomass, natural gas, and hydropower) and potential supplemental energy storage (zinc–bromine batteries) systems for a wind park. Cradle–to–grave environmental impacts for the systems are compared to those for a coal–based energy system. Results indicate that the environmental impacts from the wind park and zinc–bromine battery are lower than the impacts from coal power generation, but greater than the impacts of wind energy with supplemental energy generation from biomass, hydropower, or natural gas.