With the recent completion of four new Wyoming wind energy generation projects, one question remains: How green is wind power?
The biggest drawback to wind generation at this time appears to be how to dispose of the enormous fan blades once they have served their usefulness.
Right now the answer seems to be to dump them in a landfill and cover them up, because recycling any material in the fiberglass blades is fiscally questionable at best.
One company, Global Fiberglass Solutions of Sweetwater, Texas, has developed a method to transform the blades into fiber boards to be used for building material, but it is only recycling a tiny fraction of the worn-out blades and, because of their size, transportation is extremely expensive.
If the best option seems to be putting them in a hole in the ground and covering them up, Wyoming has some holes available in the mined-out coal mines.
But which entity gets to charge for the dumping, who pays for the dumping and which entity is responsible for possible future environmental ramifications?
Wind energy is a great green energy source, but it is not totally green. And it is certainly not an entirely dependable source of energy.
If Wyoming is considering being a dumping ground for the nation’s worn-out wind generator fan blades, the state needs to examine the ramifications of the disposal process and set some ground rules.
According to a report in “Bloomberg Green” magazine, in 2020 the city of Casper had received to date about $675,000 to allow wind blades to be dumped in its landfill.
At first blush that seems like an additional source of revenue for the state, but there are certainly some possible consequences to consider.