Working towards a European standard for decommissioning wind turbines

European wind turbines manufacturers and suppliers sell their technologies on different markets across the EU. Harmonising national standards that apply to the decommissioning of wind turbines will be key to ensuring cost- and resource-efficient processes. That’s why WindEurope is intensifying its efforts towards a European standard. This November WindEurope will publish a comprehensive document on this at its End-of-Life Issues and Strategies seminar (EoLIS).

While wind energy is increasing its share in Europe’s electricity mix, more and more first-generation wind turbines are coming close to their operational end-of-life. In Germany, for example, all turbines installed up to and including the year 2000 will reach the end of their 20-year EEG feed-in tariffs in 2021. Much of the 3.800-4.000 MW capacity affected in 2021 will be decommissioned and recycled. WindEurope estimates that across Europe 14,000 wind turbine blades will need to be recycled by 2023.

WindEurope has created a Task Force on Dismantling and Decommissioning, including the whole wind energy supply chain. Together, the members of the Task Force work towards a more sustainable and circular approach to wind turbine decommissioning. The Task Force is currently preparing the submission of practical recommendations to the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). The IEC aims to use this input to define global standards for wind turbine recycling.

WindEurope advocates for an industry-wide and international standard rather than specific national regulations. Especially in border regions, specialised companies would benefit from harmonised standards. Nevertheless, in defining such an industry-wide standard, the WindEurope Task Force regularly engages with national initiatives, such as RDR Wind, a group mainly representing the waste management industry, that recently proposed the new DIN SPEC 4866.

The WindEurope Task Force on Dismantling and Decommissioning will present its recommendations at the EoLIS 2020, which is taking place fully online on 18-20 November. Registrations will open in September. You can register your interest here.