Emissions and Energy Efficiency Assessment of Baseload Wind Energy Systems

Paul Denholm, Gerald L. Kulcinski, Tracey Holloway

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Scopus Citations


The combination of wind energy generation and energy storage can produce a source of electricity that is functionally equivalent to a baseload coal or nuclear power plant. A model was developed to assess the technical and environmental performance of baseload wind energy systems using compressed air energy storage. The analysis examined several systems that could be operated in the midwestern United States under a variety of operating conditions. The systems can produce substantially more energy than is required from fossil or other primary sources to construct and operate them. By operation at a capacity factor of 80%, each evaluated system achieves an effective primary energy efficiency of at least five times greater than the most efficient fossil combustion technology, with greenhouse gas emission rates less than 20% of the least emitting fossil technology currently available. Life-cycle emission rates of NOx and SO2 are also significantly lower than fossil-based systems.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1903-1911
Number of pages9
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2005

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-620-38827


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