While wind farms generate “greenhouse gas free” electricity, there is increasing concern over the rapidly growing number of worn out blades ending up in landfills.
Those blades, housed on giant towers reaching over 200 feet in the sky, are starting to reach the end of their useful life (15 to 20 years) and are being taken down, cut up and hauled to dumps in Iowa, South Dakota and Wyoming.
Adding to the spent blade disposal problem is utilities are retrofitting existing wind farms with longer blades and more powerful generating units. For example, “PacifiCorp is embarking on a $200 million ‘repowering’ operation at its Dayton wind farm, retrofitting each of the farm’s 117 towers,” as The Columbian reporter Anthony Macuk described last June.
PacifiCorp is raising its Dayton towers from 200 to 250 feet to accommodate the new blades which add 35 percent to the site’s generating capacity.
The good news is those new blades are shipped to the Port of Vancouver and trucked to southeastern Washington. The bad news is the old blades are likely to go to landfills.