Retiring Worn-Out Wind Turbines Could Cost Billions That Nobody...

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    Retiring Worn-Out Wind Turbines Could Cost Billions That Nobody Has (energycentral.com)574

    schwit1 shared this article from Energy Central News:Estimates put the tear-down cost of a single modern wind turbine, which can rise from 250 to 500 feet above the ground, at $200,000... Which means landowners and counties in Texas could be on the hook for tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars if officials determine non-functional wind turbines need to be removed. Or if that proves to be too costly, as seems likely, some areas of the state could become post-apocalyptic wastelands steepled with teetering and fallen wind turbines, locked in a rigor mortis of obsolescence.

    Companies will of course have the option of upgrading those aging wind turbines with new models, a resurrection of sorts. Yet the financial wherewithal to do so may depend on the continuation of federal wind subsidies, which is by no means assured. Wind farm owners say the recycling value of turbines is significant and recovering valuable material like copper and steel will cover most of the cost of decommissioning... Yet extracting valuable materials from the turbines is not as easy as it sounds... "The blades are composite, those are not recyclable, those can't be sold," said Lisa Linowes, executive director of WindAction Group, a nonprofit which studies landowner rights and the impact of the wind energy industry. "
    The landfills are going to be filled with blades in a matter of no time...."

    Unlike Duke Energy, some of the smaller wind farm companies operating in Texas, with fewer financial resources, may be tempted to just walk away when aging turbines no longer spin a profit. Linowes believes such moves may begin occurring even before wind turbines outlive their useful life as manufacturing warranties on the big turbines expire. "At what point does the cost of maintenance tip over to the point it's not worth maintaining a turbine?" she said. "We're in something of an unknown or uncertain territory... It could be a very ugly situation in the next five years when we see turbines need work, and are no longer under warranty and not generating enough electricity to keep running them."
 
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