NPR: Wind energy’s waste problem

Much of the structure of a wind turbine can be reused, but not the massive blades. And figuring out what to do with those will be a huge problem, according to a recent National Public Radio article entitled “Wind Energy Has a Waste Problem: Disposing of the Turbines.”

Some facts from the article:

  • Blades comprise resin and fiberglass
  • Used blades currently have no value, recyclable or otherwise
  • Used blades are enormous, from 100 to 300 feet long
  • They can’t be transported without being cut up onsite, and it takes specialized equipment to haul them away (all of which is enormously expensive)
  • Landfills don’t really have the space for them, either
  • Obtaining new landfill permitting is also very expensive
  • In the next 20 years, the U.S. will have over 720,000 tons of waste blade material

Jon Sanders / Director of Regulatory Studies

Jon Sanders studies regulatory policy, a veritable kudzu of invasive government and unintended consequences. As director of regulatory studies at the John Locke Foundation, Jo...

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