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How long do wind turbines last?

Wind turbines do not last forever.  Small wind turbines have a highly variable lifespan depending on construction quality.  While wind turbine technology is constantly improving, even the most sturdy wind turbines still require annual maintenance and do wear out. For example, gearboxes generally need to be rebuilt every eight to 10 years. Consequently, a turbine’s economic life is finite.  In addition, Investors often fail to budget for removal costs. North Dakota has instituted a decommissioning policy that requires new wind projects to set aside sufficient capital to remove old towers when they are no longer utilized.


Cole Gustafson, North Dakota State University
Irene Shonle, Colorado State University

NDSU, Dept. 7620

P.O. Box 6050

Fargo, ND  58108-6050

Phone: 701.231.7261

Fax: 701.231.1008

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