Oklahoma Senate supports bill preparing for disposal of wind farm blades

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A bill designed to put strict requirements on wind turbine blade disposal operators won nearly a unanimous support in the Oklahoma Senate.

House Bill 2359 was approved Wednesday on a vote of 46-1 with the lone opposing vote coming from Sen. Nathan Dahm.

The bill already received unanimous support in the House on a 93-0 vote. But it was amended in committee. The version passed by the Senate would require disposal operators to file annual reports with the Oklahoma Corporation Commission and also provide evidence of financial security.

The bill’s House author was Rep. Brad Boles of Marlow while in the Senate, Sen. Lonnie Paxton of Tuttle was the author.

Wind turbine blades are longer than the wing of a Boeing 747 jetliners. The critical challenge is that they cannot be recycled or difficult at the best. The average length is about 120 feet and each weighs an estimated five tons.

One study made in 2017 estimated the world’s wind industry would produce 43 million tons of blade waste a year by 2050.

In 2019, the landfill in Casper, Wyoming accepted more than 1,500 of the used blades. With Oklahoma being the number 2 wind-producing state in the country, its still-growing number of wind farms will eventually mean grappling with disposal of old wind turbine blades in the future.

Considering that the average life span of a wind turbine blade is 20 years, Oklahoma will soon face the challenge of how to dispose of them.