Wind turbines only last for around 20 years, so many of them are now wearing out. That raises serious questions about disposal of defunct wind turbine parts. The turbines’ giant blades are not recyclable, so they must be dumped in landfills. The Sioux Falls Argus Leader reports on one South Dakota landfill that is saying no mas to wind turbine blades:
[T]he Argus Leader reports that more than 100 wind turbine blades measuring 120 ft long have been dumped in a Sioux Falls, South Dakota, landfill, but there’s a problem: the massive blades are taking up too much room, according to local City officials. …
A wind farm near Albert Lea, Minn., brought dozens of their old turbine blades to the Sioux Falls dump this summer.
But City Hall says it won’t take anymore unless owners take more steps to make the massive fiberglass pieces less space consuming.
The wind energy industry isn’t immune to cyclical replacement, with turbine blades needing to be replaced after a decade or two in use. That has wind energy producers looking for places to accept the blades on their turbines that need to be replaced.
For at least one wind-farm in south central Minnesota, it found the Sioux Falls Regional Sanitary Landfill to be a suitable facility to take its aged-out turbine blades.
Why is a Minnesota wind farm trucking its used-up blades to South Dakota for disposal? I don’t know. The reason presumably is either regulatory or economic.
This year, 101 turbine blades have been trucked to the city dump. But with each one spanning 120 feet long, that’s caused officials with the landfill and the Sioux Falls Public Works Department to study the long-term effect that type of refuse could have on the dump.
“We can’t take any more unless they process them before bringing them to us,” Cotter said. “We’re using too many resources unloading them, driving over them a couple times and working them into the ground.”
I doubt that many “green” energy advocates have thought seriously about the environmental problems associated with decommissioning wind farms. It isn’t just disposing of the fiberglass blades, as this 15-second video relates:
If a wind farm includes 100 turbines, that means that 500 million pounds of concrete (which off-gases CO2, by the way) have been poured into what previously was likely farm land. When the turbines are defunct after a mere 20 years, what will be done with hundreds of millions of pounds of concrete? To my knowledge, wind farm developers are not required to have any plan to reclaim the land when the useful life of the turbines has expired–which, in many cases, is right around the corner. My guess is that there is no plan whatsoever to deal with this issue.
Wind energy, like solar energy, is an environmental disaster–just one more reason why it should not be subsidized or mandated by government.