A study of carbon emissions and energy consumption of wind power generation in the Panhandle of Texas


Electrical and Computer Engineering

Document Type


Publication Title

Clean Technologies and Environmental Policy







First Page


Last Page


Publication Date

Spring 1-1-2021


It has been established that the carbon emissions of wind power depends on several factors, most importantly, the size, manufacturing location, operating location, and life expectancy of the turbine. However, there is significant variation in carbon emissions of wind power generation reported in the literature. This makes it necessary to study the emissions of a windmill of a given size operating in a given location. In this paper, we study the carbon intensity and energy intensity of wind generation from a Nordex 1.3 megawatts (MW) wind turbine located in the Panhandle of Texas. Our model has three components: (a) lifetime power generation model which uses Typical Meteorological Year 3 data from National Renewable Energy Laboratory, (b) process analysis model for raw materials used in manufacturing of the wind turbine, and (c) environmentally extended input–output analysis model for all other steps involved in the life cycle analysis of the windmill, including manufacturing, transportation, installation, operation, and maintenance of windmills. Our results show that a 1.3 MW windmill operating for 20 years in the Panhandle of Texas, generates 467 terra-Joules (TJ) of electricity while consuming 25.58 TJ of energy and producing 1870.52 million-grams (Mg) of CO2. The resulting carbon emission intensity of this turbine is estimated to be 14.45 gCO2/kWh. In 2019, the U.S. generated about 286.6 billion kWh of its electricity from the wind which amounts to 4.12 million ton (MT) of annual emissions and will increase substantially as deeper levels of wind generation is achieved in the next several decades.