Decommissioning redundant wind turbines is one thing rural dwellers won’t have to worry about, according to Minister of State at the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government, Jan O’Sullivan.
She said the recycling value of components, particularly copper and steel, should more than adequately cover the financial costs of the decommissioning.
And decommissioning – or long-term bonds to finance it – are therefore not a big issue during the current targeted review of wind energy development guidelines, which are focused instead on noise, proximity and shadow flicker.
Ms O’Sullivan was responding in the Dáil to a question from Independent TD Catherine Murphy of Kildare North, who suggested an index-linked bond be paid into by the wind industry, to ensure responsible management, decommissioning where necessary, and restoration of obsolete sites.
Ms O’Sullivan said conditions requiring the lodgement of financial bonds have been used in the past, to try to ensure that decommissioning will take place in a responsible manner. “However, the use of long-term bonds to secure satisfactory reinstatement of the site upon cessation of the project puts an unreasonable burden on developers, given the long time span involved in wind energy developments, and is difficult to enforce,” she said.
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