How Green is Green Energy?

Here atĀ Construction AdvisorĀ we’re great supporters of renewable energy generation and the transition to a low-emissions economy so a recent article from Bloomberg surprised us. The article states that, in America, wind turbine blades are not, or cannot, be recycled once they reach the end of their effective life meaning that tonnes of materials are ending up in landfill.

Consider that each blade is roughly the length of the wing of a 747 jumbo jet, each turbine has 3-4 blades and the effective life of a blade is between 20-25 years… that is a lot of metal and material that is being buried. The issue seems to be a combination of high levels of engineering and poor residual value of the materials used. The (mostly) fiberglass blades are designed to withstand harsh environmental conditions and cannot be easily deconstructed, moved or broken down into reusable materials. Most of the other components of the turbine are reusable including metals, wiring and electrical components but the blades are not.

This is not a new issue in Europe or North America where thousands of blades expire each year. Australia, relatively late to the party in building large-scale wind farms is only now on the cusp of having to manage the issue.

Read the full article here.

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