Wind energy and the environment

 

Sir, – It is disappointing to see an article on the American experience of turbine blade recycling (“Clean energy’s dirty little secret on wind turbines”, Business, February 13th) which fails to highlight the progress being made across Ireland and Europe.

There is also a certain irony that it appeared just after Vestas, the world’s leading turbine manufacturer, announced plans to eliminate non-recyclable waste from the construction and operation of turbines.

Approximately 85 to 90 per cent of wind turbines are completely recyclable. We are absolutely determined to make that 100 per cent, to ensure every part of the wind turbine can be reused, repurposed or recycled.

At a European level Wind Europe is working with key stakeholders in the manufacturing industry to improve turbine blade recycling and last year brought together more than 170 experts and policymakers to work to achieve truly zero-waste turbine manufacturing.

Here in Ireland, researchers in University College Cork and Queen’s University are part of an innovative global research programme to come up with new ways to reuse turbine blades, already being repurposed to become playground equipment in the Netherlands and bus shelters in Germany.

Across the continent wind energy produces less composite waste than the building and construction, electrical and electronics, transportation and marine sectors. And it does this while also generating clean energy.

Wind energy is Ireland’s most important tool in the fight against climate change. In 2018 it reduced our CO2 emissions by more than three million tonnes and avoided €432 million of fossil fuel imports.

It is a clean, Irish, energy industry which is dedicated to finding new ways of reducing our environmental footprint including by working with researchers across the world to make turbines 100 per cent recyclable. – Yours, etc,

Dr DAVID CONNOLLY,

Chief Executive,

Irish Wind Energy

Association,

Naas,

Co Kildare.

Sir, – It is a myth that wind power is “carbon free” or “clean energy”, as you report.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has shown that on a lifecycle basis – the only meaningful measure – greenhouse gas emissions, from wind farms and nuclear plants are the same. – Yours, etc,

Dr JOHN DOHERTY,

Vienna.