Wind Energy – Recycling
Owners of aging wind farms will have to dispose of more than 160,000 turbine blades from now until 2030.
With recycling options limited, there is a risk that many blades will end up in landfills.
Composite materials like glass fiber and adhesives make up the bulk of wind turbine blades by weight. Once combined, these materials are extremely difficult to separate, making recycling a challenge with existing technology.
This issue is likely to hit the earliest wind markets first, such as Germany, the U.S. and Spain. Most wind decommissioning activity today happens in these markets, where companies like Iberdrola, NextEra Energy, and RWE AG own large portfolios of aging wind farms.
Fast progress is needed to avoid reputational damage to the industry as used blades fill landfills.