Wilson wind-blade recycling bill goes to governor

OLYMPIA – A bill from Sen. Jeff Wilson that holds green energy to green standards cleared its last hurdle in the Legislature Monday.

Senate Bill 5287 launches a study by Washington State University on the feasibility of recycling wind turbine blades once they have reached the end of their useful lives. Disposal of turbine blades has become an environmental concern as early wind turbines are decommissioned.

As a result of an amendment adopted in the state House, the bill also would study the recycling of wind turbines. The Senate voted 47-0 Monday to concur, and the bill now goes to the governor for final consideration.

“What we do with wind turbine blades has become an environmental concern,” said Wilson, R-Longview. “We’ve been putting up windmills on a large scale since the 1990s, to make our energy green and clean. But those blades don’t last forever, and simply cutting them up and dumping them in landfills seems to defeat the spirit.”

Wind turbine blades typically last 20 years and are made of steel, plastic and fiberglass. They vary in size, and can reach a span of 170 feet or more.