Renewable pioneers in Dumfries & Galloway set to tackle wind turbine waste

Leading independent renewable energy generator, Fred. Olsen Renewables, and ReBlade, the first specialist wind turbine decommissioning service in the UK, have announced that they have formed an innovative partnership to explore and implement solutions for reusing turbine blades from Windy Standard Wind Farm, near Carsphairn in Dumfries and Galloway.

By Morag Kuc
Monday, 13th June 2022, 9:00 am
Pictured (l to r) are Miles McConville and  Kirsty Leiper (FOR); Steven Lindsay and Fiona Lindsay (ReBlade).
Pictured (l to r) are Miles McConville and  Kirsty Leiper (FOR); Steven Lindsay and Fiona Lindsay (ReBlade).

Fred. Olsen Renewables is proposing to repower the first phase of Windy Standard Wind Farm, which would see the removal of 36 turbines and up to eight wind turbines erected in their place.

Wind turbine blades are notoriously difficult to recycle and repurpose. Made of fibreglass-reinforced composites, they are designed to cope with extreme weather for 25+ years, and to turn many millions of miles during their lifespan.

The partnership with ReBlade will explore repurposing the blades to explore opportunities to create items for use in the local area, such as playparks, bus shelters and bike racks.

Miles McConville, Project Manager at Fred. Olsen Renewables, said: “Working with Reblade will allow us to explore opportunities to repurpose turbine blades that are removed from site and give them a second lease of life in the local area.

"We are engaging with the local community to find out what they would like to see delivered, and, should our plans be approved, we hope to bring some of those ideas into fruition.”

The partnership was marked by the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the two companies on one of ReBlade’s furniture designs.

The table and bench (pictured) are made from decommissioned turbine blades, which flew many millions of miles during their operational lifespans, generating green electricity.

The items are examples of the types of products that could be designed from the decommissioned Windy Standard blades.

Commenting, Steven Lindsay, Managing Director of ReBlade, who hails from Dumfries, said: It’s great to be collaborating with a community-minded company like Fred. Olsen Renewables, and, for me personally, it’s wonderful to be pioneering this circular innovation in Dumfries & Galloway.”

“As the first generation of windfarms start to come down, we are developing practical, workable solutions that will give these blades a purposeful second life - and to do so in a way that creates local jobs and benefits local communities. We are already training local technicians on our blade handling techniques for the 108 turbine blades that are set to come down.

“Windy Standard windfarm was a truly ground breaking site for Scotland’s renewables industry, and it’s exciting to think that the repowering of this site will be equally ground breaking in setting a standard for sustainable and circular turbine blade decommissioning in the UK.”

Commenting on the partnership, Douglas Chapman MP and SNP Spokesperson for SMEs, Enterprise, Innovation said:

"This collaboration is a hugely significant moment in Scotland's renewable journey where innovation, entrepreneurialism, climate and community benefit come together to create a blueprint for sustainable success.

“As the first specialist wind turbine blade decommissioning service in the UK, Scottish company ReBlade are rooted in renewable and circular economy principles. Their collaboration with established company, Fred. Olsen Renewables, on repurposing end of life turbine blades is an important example of waste management, local benefit through job creation and skills development as well as second-life design.

“It's exactly this kind of unique opportunity in green innovation that we need to celebrate and support as well as replicate across renewable sectors in Scotland in order to meet our net zero ambitions."

Further information can be found at www.windystandardwindfarm.co.uk.