Fred. Olsen Renewables and ReBlade form partnership to tackle turbine waste

Innovative partnership formed by Fred. Olsen Renewables and ReBlade / Collaboration will investigate repurposing solutions for turbine blades from Windy Standard Wind Farm in south west Scotland / The innovative partnership will focus on delivering sustainable uses for decommissioned materials in the region, creating local jobs and supporting a circular economy

Image: ReBladeImage: ReBlade

Leading independent renewable energy generator, Fred. Olsen Renewables, and ReBlade, the first specialist wind turbine decommissioning service in the UK, have today (8 June 2022) announced that they have formed an innovative partnership to explore solutions for reusing turbine blades from Windy Standard Wind Farm, near Carsphairn in Dumfries and Galloway.

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. The decommissioning process will release various materials, including more than 100 turbine blades. A focus for the organisation is identifying solutions to repurpose or recycling the blades.

Wind turbine blades are notoriously difficult to recycle and repurpose. The partnership with ReBlade will explore opportunities to create items for use in the local area from the blades, such as playparks, bus shelters and bike racks. The initiative embraces the circular economy, ensuring that the renewables sector is as green as it can be, whilst supporting jobs in the region and Scotland-wide.

Miles McConville, Project Manager at Fred. Olsen Renewables, commented: “Windy Standard Wind Farm has been operating for over 25 years and was one of the first wind farms to be built in Scotland. It will also be one of the first to be repowered. We want our repowering proposals to celebrate this legacy and this includes making sure that our proposals lead the way in identifying solutions for the recycling and repurposing of turbine blade materials.

“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.      

Fiona Lindsay, Technical Director of ReBlade, based in Glasgow, said: “This collaboration with Fred. Olsen Renewables should help to establish best practice in the wind energy sector in the UK by prioritising the development of sustainable decommissioning methods at a very early stage in the site repowering process.

“The non-recyclable nature of wind turbine blades is a known issue, and it’s one we’ve been actively exploring with partners in the industry. It’s great to be working with an innovative company like Fred. Olsen Renewables in pioneering scalable solutions that prioritise the circular potential of Scotland’s green energy assets.

“On a personal level, as the turbines I helped put in place early in my renewables career start to come down, I want to help determine a useful second life for these materials rather than seeing them being landfilled in turbine blade graveyards. Our priority is developing practical, workable solutions, and to do so in a way that creates local jobs and benefits local communities.”

Steven Lindsay, Managing Director of ReBlade, said: “ReBlade has been formed with an unrelenting focus on solving the turbine blade waste challenge in a circular way, and, for me personally, it’s wonderful to be pioneering this circular innovation in my home region of Dumfries & Galloway.

“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.”

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.  

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Fred. Olsen Renewables, ReBlade, recycling, rotor blade, wind turbine, partnership, decommissioning, sustainable, jocs, initiative, reuse

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