‘Green’ Energy’s Poisonous Legacy: Millions of Toxic Turbine Blades Destined for African Landfills

Environmentalists of the kind lovingly called ‘tree huggers’ (rather than wind turbine worshippers) are finally cottoning on to the fact that the wind industry is anything but the ‘clean, green’ energy source its proponents claim it to be.

Real eco-warriors aren’t happy to bury inconvenient wind industry facts, instead, they’re furious at the fact that what the wind industry is actually burying millions of tons of toxic waste, among a list of other environmental sins.

Wind turbines don’t run on wind, they run on subsidies: cut the subsidies and once these things inevitably grind to a halt, they’ll never be replaced.

With an economic lifespan of something like 10-12 years (rather than the overblown 25 put forward by turbine makers and wind power outfits), over the next decade countries like Germany will be left with hundreds of thousands of 2-300 tonne ‘problems’ littering the landscape. With hundreds of turbines already kaput, Germans are about to be smacked with the harsh and toxic reality of their government’s so-called ‘green’ obsession.

Germany’s Wind Energy Mess: As Subsidies Expire, Thousands Of Turbines To Shut Down … Environmental Nightmare!
No Tricks Zone
Pierre Gosselin
24 April 2018

The Swiss national daily Baseler Zeitung here recently reported how Germany’s wind industry is facing a potential “abandonment”.

Approvals tougher to get

This is yet another blow to Germany’s Energiewende (transition to green energies). A few days ago I reported here how the German solar industry had seen a monumental jobs-bloodbath and investments had been slashed to a tiny fraction of what they once had been.

Over the years Germany has made approvals for new wind parks more difficult as the country reels from an unstable power grid and growing protests against the blighted landscapes and health hazards.

Now that the wind energy boom has ended, the Baseler Zeitung reports that “the shutdown of numerous wind turbines could soon lead to a drop in production” after having seen years of ruddy growth.

Subsidies for old turbines run out

Today a large number of Germany’s 29,000 total turbines nationwide are approaching 20 years old and for the most part they are outdated.

Worse: the generous subsidies granted at the time of their installation are slated to expire soon and thus make them unprofitable. After 2020, thousands of these turbines will lose their subsidies with each passing year, which means they will be taken offline and mothballed.

The Baseler Zeitung writes:

“In many cases the earnings will not be able to cover the continued operation costs of the turbines. After 20 years of operation, the turbines require more maintenance and some expensive repairs.”

The Baseler Zeitung adds that some 5700 turbines with an installed capacity of 45 MW will see their subsidies run out by 2020. The Swiss daily reports further:

“The German Windenergie federal association estimates that approximately 14,000 megawatts of installed capacity will lose their subsidies by 2023, which is more than a quarter of the German wind energy capacity.”

So with new turbines coming online only slowly, it’s entirely possible that wind energy output in Germany will recede in the coming years, thus making the country appear even less serious about climate protection.

Wind turbine dump in Africa?

So what happens to the old turbines that will get taken offline?

Windpark owners hope to send their scrapped wind turbine clunkers to third world buyers, Africa for example. But if these buyers instead opt for new energy systems, then German wind park operators will be forced to dismantle and recycle them – a costly endeavor, the Baseler Zeitung reports.

Impossible to recycle composite materials

The problem here are the large blades, which are made of fiberglass composite materials and whose components cannot be separated from each other. Burning the blades is extremely difficult, toxic and energy-intensive. So naturally there’s a huge incentive for German wind park operators to dump the old contraptions onto third world countries, and to let them deal later with the garbage.

Sweeping garbage under the rug

Next the Baseler Zeitung brings up the disposal of the massive 3000-tonne reinforced concrete turbine base, which according to German law must be removed.

Some of these concrete bases reach depths of 20 meters and penetrate multiple ground layers, the Baseler Zeitung reports, adding:

“The complete removal of the concrete base can quickly run up to several hundreds of thousands of euros. Many wind park operators have not made the corresponding provisions for this expense.”

Already wind park operators are circumventing this huge expense by only removing the top two meters of the concrete and steel base, and then hiding the rest with a layer of soil, the Baseler writes.

In the end most of the concrete base will remain as garbage buried in the ground, and the above-ground turbine litter will likely get shipped to third world countries.

That’s Germany’s Energiewende and contribution to protecting the environment and climate!
No Tricks Zone

Environmental ‘street-cred’, just got shredded …

5 thoughts on “‘Green’ Energy’s Poisonous Legacy: Millions of Toxic Turbine Blades Destined for African Landfills

  1. A nightmare that is no longer futuristic. Governments have been warned for years these things pose a massive environmental problem, not only when they are being manufactured, installed, operated but when they come to the end of their useful life.
    Of course they have also been asked what happens to broken blades in the meantime – the whole process of this industry is an environmental and health hazard – yet Governments continue to support it – financially and ideologically.
    Even if the companies have had to include in their applications a process of removal – NO truly detailed environmentally acceptable manner of disposal has been included.
    Even if they have set aside money for disposal it will never cover the cost of safe and environmental disposal.
    What are our ‘Leaders’ doing when they continue to support this industry now the moment of truth has arrived – NOTHING positive as usual.
    The UN needs to be held to account also because it was their stupid push to change the way we create our electrical needs without first considering how it could be achieved in the safest most economic and environmental manner.
    Yes this industry flourished because of stupidity and possible graft on the part of too many who should have known better.
    We have had a warning from China that other countries are not going to continue to accept other countries waste for disposal – what are we going to do then – here in Australia probably try and dump it all in our outback – where it may not be seen by those in the cities but will be gradually destroying our truly wonderful land.
    Wake up Canberra and all States to the damage being rort now and what environmental disasters you are heading up for our future.

  2. Reblogged this on UPPER SONACHAN WIND FARM and commented:
    Just confirming the moral bankruptcy of the industry…..and still we hear nothing from the World Health Organisation. All enquiries re. missing noise guidelines meet with silence. Many rightly judge that their credibility is slipping to zero as a result.

  3. Why we’re politicos so dud as to make these policies, stupidity, groupthink or corruption. Probably some or all of these prompts.

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