Wind turbines provide clean and affordable electricity to millions across the country. In fact, the U.S. is home to more than 58,000 active wind turbines. And Texas alone generated more than 8,200 megawatt-hours of electricity from wind in October of last year.
Wind energy offers a renewable alternative to fossil fuels such as oil and gas – which emit harmful chemicals into the atmosphere and contribute to global warming. However, wind turbines are not without their faults.
In terms of waste, wind turbine blades present a major problem. In recent years, blade sizes have grown from about 145 feet in 1997 to about 367 feet in 2017. Current models of turbine blades can also weigh 36 tons on average. The problem is that their massive size makes them difficult to dispose of when they break or are decommissioned.
So, while wind energy is green, wind turbine waste creates a new environmental question – can the wind industry address the waste issues associated with outdated turbine blades? The answer may lie in creative recycling.