March 7, 2020

Senate talk putting wind blades to bed in Wyoming coal mines

By Brendan LaChance | Oil City News | March 6, 2020 |

CASPER, Wyo. – The Wyoming Senate discussed House Bill 129 which would allow retired wind turbine blades and shells to be disposed in abandoned coal mines in the state during their Friday, March 6 floor session.

Senate District 09 Senator Chris Rothfuss said that “we have an incredible opportunity” to use the turbine blades as back-fill in coal mines being reclaimed in the Powder River Basin.

“This is just the shells and the blades which are inert and innocuous,” Rothfuss said, adding that it “looks like there is a substantial demand for it.”

Senate President Drew Perkins brought up the fact that wind turbine blades have been disposed in the Casper Regional Landfill.

“The landfill in my community has taken a lot of these blades in,” he said. “They take up a lot of space.”

Perkins said that having the blades disposed in coal mines made sense to him.

“This sounds like a great way to do it,” he said. “Dust to dust, carbon to carbon.”

The Senate passed the bill on first reading on Friday. The House has already passed the bill on three readings.

The bill would allow only the base material of blades and towers to be buried in abandoned coal mine sites, requiring “the removal of all mechanical, electrical and other materials from the decommissioned wind turbine blades and towers.”

The House have also passed House Bill 217 which would ban the disposal of wind turbine blades in Wyoming landfills. The blades could be discarded at facilities which aim to reuses recycle, breaks down or repurpose the blades.

The Senate are tentatively scheduled to hold a first reading vote on that bill on Friday.

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