Mitchell’s Daily Republic had an article on the 1st of September titled “Area Counties See ‘Mixed Bag’ for Zoning”. District III Community Development Specialist Brian McGinnis stated “some companies are preparing to repower wind tower systems, even after as few as 10 years, such as bigger blades and upgraded motor systems.” Simply put; bigger blades cutting through the air equates to larger subsidies collected.
This should be front and center on the SD DENR’s radar. What’s going to happen to the thousands (if not more) of fiberglass composite blades; some reaching lengths of 220’ with new ones as long as 290’ that begin to litter our state? Will massive open pits be considered to bury or even burn them? Such a toxic process would create concerns with potential groundwater and air contamination. A far cry from even remotely being considered “green energy’. Some quick research and one can discover the technology to recycle blade waste is moving forward at a snail’s pace at best. County commissions have been working diligently updating ordinances since the recent surge of wind farm proposals associated with the extension of federal production tax credit subsidies. Safe, responsible setback distances from family homes and farms are their primary focus and rightfully so, but what about the decommissioning phase once they’ve lived their short life expectancy of 15-20 years? It’s highly questionable to assume each county has the resources to effectively tackle such concerns, but where and when does the DENR take a hard stance on the topic? This is a classic case of a government entity needing to be proactive rather than reactive and there’s no time like the present to begin answering these questions.
Michael Bollweg – Secretary – SDSRRE (South Dakotans for Safe and Responsible Renewable Energy)
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