Planet Sized Problem: Millions More Wind Turbine Blades Destined for Landfills Near You

Mike Moore’s Planet of the Humans exposed the mountains of toxic filth generated by so-called ‘green’ energy, much to the horror of renewable energy rent-seekers and climate cult zealots, alike.

Solar panels are a veritable toxic cocktail of gallium arsenide, tellurium, silver, crystalline silicon, lead, cadmium, and heavy earth material.

Then there’s the landfill legacy being created by wind turbine blades, with the First World cynically using the Third World as its dumping ground: ‘Green’ Energy’s Poisonous Legacy: Millions of Toxic Turbine Blades Destined for African Landfills

Thousands of 45-70m blades (weighing between 10 to 25 tonnes) are being ground up and mixed with concrete used in the bases of other turbines erected later or simply dumped in landfill. Which should worry locals who rely on nearby aquifers for their groundwater: the plastics in the blades are highly toxic, and contain Bisphenol A, which is so dangerous to health that the European Union and Canada have banned it.

Hundreds of thousands of wind turbine blades have already found their way into landfill, with millions more to follow.

Bear in mind the wind industry has been with us for barely 20 years and most of the increase in (occasional) generating capacity has occurred in the last decade. And yet, thousands of blades are being replaced on operating turbines or simply dumped when they are unshackled from turbines that have already given up the ghost.

As an increasing number of landfills reach bursting point, instead of paying for the cost of dumping them legally, wind power outfits are piling them up in enormous heaps all across the USA.

Back in August last year, we reported on one blade ‘recycling’ company busted for illegally storing hundreds of wind turbine blades at three sites in Iowa. Global Fiberglass Solutions Inc was busted for piling up over 1,300 blades at three makeshift dumps – despite claiming it would ‘recycle’ them.

In Oregon, one so-called wind turbine blade ‘recycler’ was whacked with a $57,282 fine for dumping hundreds of dilapidated blades right next to a natural spring and wetland. It made the bogus claim that the 2,741 cubic yard cocktail of fibreglass and toxic plastics amounted to “clean fill”. For wind power outfits trying to play hide and seek, someone should point out that 40-60m long chunks of plastic, fibreglass, balsa wood and resins – that weigh between 10 and 20 tonnes – are not that easy to miss.

In short, let’s call it a ‘planet-sized problem’ that isn’t going away.

Tasmania’s wind farm sector faces a large waste problem
The Examiner
Meg Powell
19 June 2022

Amid the boom of Tasmania’s wind farming industry, researchers have warned thousands of turbine blades could end up in landfill unless end-of-life programs are established.

That’s according to a new study from the University of South Australia, which highlights the challenges of recycling the blades and warns Australia is facing a growing pile of wind farm waste.

In North-West Tasmania alone, at least 11 wind turbine farms have been built or are under development, all of which will one day need to face the problem of piles of giant, old blades.

And it’s no small feat – on the West Coast, for example, there are 31 turbines spinning at Granville Harbour.

Each turbine has three blades measuring about 62 metres in length – longer than the wing of a Boeing 777.

The study, led by Professor Peter Majewski, explains that the blades are usually made of either carbon fibre or or glass fibre composite material, both of which are expensive to break down and have minimal market value once recovered.

“The same features that make these blades cost-effective and reliable for use in commercial wind turbines make them very difficult to recycle in a cost-effective fashion,” Professor Majewski said.

With estimates of global waste generated by wind turbines sitting above 43 million tonnes by 2050, a world-wide race is on to find viable solutions. Some European countries have already banned the dumping of used blades in landfill in the meantime.

Operators or Manufacturers?
In Australia, Professor Majewski believes cost of recycling the blades compared to the low value of the recovered material makes it unrealistic to expect a market-based recycling solution to emerge.

He says that means either manufacturers or wind farm operators will be left to factor the costs of disposing of the blades into their operations, which would then be passed on to customers.

For Professor Majewski, one of the important factors is making sure there is relevant policy in place to ensure these blades are dealt with even if manufacturers disappear or wind farms go broke in the meantime.

He said it was likely consumers would ultimately bear some of the end-of-life cost through energy tariffs, but remained hopeful that market competition between energy producers would help to minimise the impact.

“There will be some cost to this for everyone involved, but we have to accept that as part of the cost of producing energy in this way,” Prof Majewski said.

“Without such solutions, energy options like wind and solar may prove to be no more sustainable than the old technologies they are aiming to replace.”
The Examiner

Wind turbines bound for landfill because of hefty recycling expenses
ABC News
Christian Cominos
21 June 2022

Researchers from the University of South Australia are urging renewable energy companies in the state to come up with an end-of-life plan for their ageing wind turbines.

A study led by Professor Peter Majewski indicated that tens of thousands of old turbines could end up in landfill by the end of the decade.

Worldwide, there could be more than 40 million tonnes of blade waste in landfills by 2050.

Energy companies in Denmark have used old turbines to construct bus stop shelters and playground equipment.

“You can only build so many bus shelters and we have thousands of wind turbines coming to waste in the next 10 to 20 years,” Professor Majewski said.

“One blade is roughly the size of an airplane wing, and they just can’t be left in landfills.”

Professor Majewski suggested another solution would be to send the old turbines back to the manufacturers.

“Some of the turbines could be produced overseas so these structures could go back to where they were produced, and this would all depend on existing legislation,” he said.

“Some legislation doesn’t allow ways for waste to be sent overseas so they would need to be recycled here.

“It would be better to find a way to reuse them or recycle them in Australia.”
ABC News

Disposal Plan Needed for Tonnes of Future Wind Turbine Waste: Expert
The Epoch Times
Daniel Y Teng
22 June 2022

Over 40 million tonnes of “blade waste” will need to be disposed of worldwide by 2050, spurring engineering and manufacturing experts to call on governments to implement “end of life” plans for the plethora of wind farms now emerging across developed countries.

A new study involving Professor Peter Majewski from the University of South Australia has found that Australia will need to find a way to dispose of “tens of thousands” of wind turbine blades by the end of this decade, particularly as the state and federal governments continue to push for more ambitious net-zero targets.

Currently, wind turbine blades are disposed of in one of three ways: recycling, incineration, or dumped into landfills—the latter practice will be banned in Europe by 2025.

Dumping of wind turbine blades is prevalent because of the difficulties with recycling the materials.

Just 30 percent of the carbon fibre or glass fibre composite material used to make wind turbine blades can be reused, with most going into the cement industry as filler material.

“As it is so expensive to recycle them, and the recovered materials are worth so little, it is not realistic to expect a market-based recycling solution to emerge, so policymakers need to step in now and plan what we’re going to do with all these blades that will come offline in the next few years,” Majewski said in a statement on June 20.

Consumers, Businesses To Bear the Cost
The professor is pushing for “product stewardship” models to be adopted—similar to how telecommunications firms offer recycling services for smartphones—and for this to be factored into the cost of wind turbines, which will likely drive up the cost for consumers.

“Either the manufacturer must take responsibility for what needs to be done with the blades at the end of their useful life, or the wind farm operators must provide end-of-life solutions as part of the planning approval process for their business operations,” he said.

“There will be some cost to this for everyone involved, but we have to accept that as part of the cost of producing energy in this way,” he added. “Without such solutions, energy options like wind and solar may prove to be no more sustainable than the old technologies they are aiming to replace.”

New Government Invigorates Net Zero Pursuit
The recent change in the federal government in Australia has galvanised renewable energy advocates to pursue more ambitious climate change policies.

The centre-left Labor government has pledged to up the country’s emissions reduction target from 26-28 percent by 2030, to 43 percent.

At the same time, Labor will also attempt to overhaul the energy grid so that 82 percent of Australia’s electricity comes from renewable energy sources (wind, hydro, solar, and biomass, among others). Currently, 64.67 percent (pdf) of electricity comes from coal-fired generation.

State governments have also been heavily supportive of climate change initiatives rolling out policies such as state-level net-zero targets, declarations of “climate emergencies,” establishing wider electric vehicle charging networks, and restricting the development of oil and coal power generators.

Yet the pursuit of green technology and massive investments in solar panels and battery storage will bear their own cost.

Australia alone will retire 100,000 tonnes of solar panels by 2035, most of which are destined for landfills. But, like wind turbines, recycling solar panels is a costly and time-consuming exercise for businesses.

In terms of lithium-ion batteries, the CSIRO estimates that Australia generates around 3,300 tonnes of battery waste per year, which could reach 100,000 tonnes by 2036. Currently, only two percent of the waste is recycled.

Further, building more solar panels, wind turbines, and batteries would also increase reliance on Chinese supply chains, where much of the raw materials or finished products are sourced.

On top of this, Sheffield Hallam University in the United Kingdom found that Xinjiang Province in China’s west was responsible for producing 45 percent of the world’s polysilicon—95 percent of solar modules need this material. The region has been heavily scrutinised for its persecution of the Uyghur minority.

“All polysilicon manufacturers in the Uyghur region have reported their participation in [forced] labour transfer programmes and/or are supplied by raw materials companies that have,” the study found.
The Epoch Times

About stopthesethings

We are a group of citizens concerned about the rapid spread of industrial wind power generation installations across Australia.

Comments

  1. Shouldn’t the very people who decided to usher in these failed experiments (for which there was no full cost/benefit analysis which should have included safe disposal or recycle, reuse plans) be forced now to take total responsibility for dismantling and dealing with all of the materials in an environmentally sound manner? It should be easy to figure out who made these decisions.

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