Senate Bill 5287, sponsored by state Sen. Jeff Wilson, R-Longview, was passed out of the state Senate by a vote of 48-0 on Monday. The bill, aimed at “holding green energy to green standards,” would require Washington State University to examine the feasibility of recycling wind turbine blades.
According to a statement released by Wilson, the feasibility of recycling wind turbines, which can reach 170 feet and last up to 20 years, is an issue receiving attention in environmental circles. While the blades help produce renewable energy, there are few uses for them after they are no longer used on wind turbines, and the blades are normally cut into pieces and buried.
In his statement, Wilson said he was concerned about creating waste, burdening landfills and the importance of stewardship of wind turbine blades during the disposal process.
“This is a responsible step in the management of our wind generation systems,” Wilson said. “What are we going to do with the thousands of used wind turbine blades when they reach the end of their life cycle? Simply burying these giants in our landfills is not acceptable, given our commitment to the environment. This bill provides the opportunity to explore the potential to manufacture and recycle these components right here in Washington, expanding job creation in the green energy sector.”
According to Wilson, as older wind turbines are retired, concerns regarding wind-blade recycling are expected to grow. Wind power is the second largest source of power in Washington state, based on statistics for 2021, producing almost 3,400 megawatts annually.
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