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How to ditch a used windmill

02 Oct 2019 | OP ED Watch

It’s not easy. Just ask the folks in Caspar, Wyoming. Not the first name to spring to mind when you wonder about finding a spot to dump trash, perhaps. But they’re having issues with clapped-out wind turbines. And their issues remind us that when people call energy clean, or zero-carbon, or green, you need to examine the entire life cycle from extraction to disposal before believing what the boosters put on the label.

Much of the material from turbine blades can be reclaimed. And should be, given what it took to extract it in the first place. But, Wyoming News Now reports, there’s still a lot of fibreglass in those blades and they’re too strong to crush. So they have to be sawn into pieces, trucked to the site, stacked and buried. And good luck biodegrading fibreglass.

Of course Wyoming does have lots of space to stick it from here to eternity. Indeed, Caspar is aggressively soliciting the stuff because it makes money taking it off people’s hands. But think of how many wind farms there are, and how many more people want to build, and make sure you do all the math, from rare earth extraction to rare bird extermination to landfills full of fibreglass before declaring that here at last is guilt-, cost- and pollution-free power.

One comment on “How to ditch a used windmill”

  1. Since the topic is Windmills we have to evaluate as you stated a full life cycle evaluation including causality and effects. Adding up production costs, and site costs and taxes, fees and permits, transport, assembly, land, maintenance. Then interaction contact killing wild life like bats, and birds. Noise pollution that extends for miles and is constant. Interface with the grid. Alternate power must be maintained in case of failure, immediately, because it is not replacement of power supplies, it is no more than a alternate unraisable power source. Treatment of the electronics is causing massive toxic pollution to avoid electrical fires. and disposal possibly using them as fodder for road beds, ground up and mixed with soil cement.
    Climate change: Electrical industry's 'dirty secret' boosts warming
    It's the most powerful greenhouse gas known to humanity, and emissions have risen rapidly in recent years, the BBC has learned.
    Sulphur hexafluoride, or SF6, is widely used in the electrical industry to prevent short circuits and accidents.
    But leaks of the little-known gas in the UK and the rest of the EU in 2017 were the equivalent of putting an extra 1.3 million cars on the road

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