Wilson bill promoting wind-turbine blade recycling becomes law

Washington State University will study a growing environmental concern

A bill from Sen. Jeff Wilson that holds green energy to green standards was signed into law Thursday by Gov. Jay Inslee.

Senate Bill 5287 turns the spotlight on wind turbines, and the environmental problem they leave behind. When a wind turbine reaches the end of its useful life, what do you do with the blades?

“This is becoming a topic of conversation among those interested in environmental sustainability,” explained Wilson, R-Longview.

“The blades are 170 feet long or more, and they don’t last forever. We’re finding that the typical useful life of a wind turbine is about 30 years. The blades aren’t easy to recycle, because of the materials they’re made of. So as modern wind farms upgrade their equipment, we’re cutting up the blades and dumping them in landfills. If we’re going to go green, we should do better than that.”

Wilson’s bill launches a state study of wind-blade recycling, to be overseen by Washington State University. The report also will consider prospects for recycling of wind turbines.