Published: 06 February 2019 06 February 2019
The carbon payback times for wind turbines are much shorter than previously thought, according to international research carried out at Point and Sandwick Trust’s community-owned wind farm. German student Katharina Lutz found the turbines at Beinn Ghrideag had a payback time of just 47 days – a drastic reduction on the previous, widely accepted, estimate of 2.3 years.
‘Carbon payback’ is a term referring to the time it takes for the negative environmental impact from the construction of a wind farm on peatland to be offset by the positive impact of generating clean energy instead of burning fossil fuel. When peat is disturbed for large concrete foundations to be laid for turbines, greenhouse gases are released into the atmosphere. Katharina carried out her research in the Autumn, with academic support from Alasdair MacLeod of Lews Castle College UHI and financial support from Point and Sandwick Trust.