Wind turbine’s blades at the end of their lifespan must be sawed through using a diamond-encrusted industrial saw to create pieces small enough to be strapped to a tractor-trailer.
The municipal landfill in Casper, Wyoming, is the final resting place of 870 blades whose days making renewable energy have come to end.
Tens of thousands of aging blades are ending up in landfills. In the U.S. alone, about 8,000 will be removed in each of the next four years. Europe, which has been dealing with the problem longer, has about 3,800 coming down annually through at least 2022.
Built to withstand extremely high winds, the blades can’t easily be crushed, recycled or repurposed. Only landfills in Lake Mills, Iowa; Sioux Falls, South Dakota; and Casper, where they will be in stacks that reach 30 feet underground.