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LCA methodology provides a clear and consistent toll to evaluate the environmental impact of the different phases of wind plant installations. LCA estimates the benefits of electricity from renewable energy sources compared to conventional technologies in a fully documented and transparent way.

The construction of the wind turbine is the most significant phase in term of the environmental impacts produced by wind energy, both for offshore wind power plants and onshore wind power plants.

Environmental impacts generated in transportation and operation phases cannot be considered significant in relation to the total environmental impacts of both the offshore and onshore wind power plants. However, in offshore wind power plants zinc is discharged from offshore cables during the operational stage.

The disposal scenario has great importance for the environmental profile of the electricity generated from wind power plants. Environmental impacts are directly dependant on the recycling level. A higher amount of recycling results in a better environmental result.

The energy balance of wind energy is very positive. The energy consumed in the whole chain of wind plants is recovered in several average operational months.

The comparison of wind energy with conventional technologies highlights the environmental advantages of wind energy. Quite significant emissions reductions can be obtained producing electricity in wind farms instead of using conventional technologies such as coal power plants and NGCC power plants.

Significant benefits of wind energy should play an increasingly important role in deciding what kinds of new power plants will be built.

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