Fred Olsen Renewables and ReBlade, the first specialist wind turbine decommissioning service in the UK, have joined forces to explore ways of reusing turbine blades from the appropriately named Windy Standard Wind Farm, near Carsphairn in Dumfries and Galloway.
Plans are being drafted to repower the first phase of Windy Standard, which would see the removal of 36 turbines and up to eight wind turbines erected in their place. The decommissioning process would release various materials, including more than 100 turbine blades.
Wind turbine blades are notoriously difficult to recycle and repurpose. The partnership will explore opportunities to create items for use in the local area from the blades, such as play parks, bus shelters and bike racks.
Miles McConville, project manager at Fred Olsen Renewables, said: “Windy Standard Wind Farm has been operating for over 25 years and was one of the first wind farms to be built in Scotland. It will also be one of the first to be repowered.
“We want our repowering proposals to celebrate this legacy and this includes making sure that our proposals lead the way in identifying solutions for the recycling and repurposing of turbine blade materials.
“Working with Reblade will allow us to explore opportunities to repurpose turbine blades that are removed from site and give them a second lease of life in the local area. We are engaging with the local community to find out what they would like to see delivered, and, should our plans be approved, we hope to bring some of those ideas into fruition.”
The partnership was marked by the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the two companies on one of ReBlade’s furniture designs. The table and bench are made from decommissioned turbine blades, which flew many millions of miles during their operational lifespans, generating green electricity.
Fiona Lindsay, technical director of ReBlade, based in Glasgow, said: “This collaboration with Fred Olsen Renewables should help to establish best practice in the wind energy sector in the UK by prioritising the development of sustainable decommissioning methods at a very early stage in the site repowering process.
“The non-recyclable nature of wind turbine blades is a known issue, and it’s one we’ve been actively exploring with partners in the industry. It’s great to be working with an innovative company like Fred Olsen Renewables in pioneering scalable solutions that prioritise the circular potential of Scotland’s green energy assets.
“On a personal level, as the turbines I helped put in place early in my renewables career start to come down, I want to help determine a useful second life for these materials rather than seeing them being landfilled in turbine blade graveyards.”
Douglas Chapman MP and SNP spokesperson for SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises), enterprise and innovation added: “This collaboration is a hugely significant moment in Scotland's renewable journey where innovation, entrepreneurialism, climate and community benefit come together to create a blueprint for sustainable success.”