Blowin’ in the wind |

Blowin’ in the wind

Build wind turbines to generate cheap, environmentally friendly energy, they said.

I have always said that building transporting and erecting wind turbines takes a heck of a lot of energy.

And, it’s been reported many times that the only reason wind turbines can be built is because the industry is highly subsidized.

Now, we learn that many wind turbine blades have to be replaced and some will be buried in landfills.

According to Wyoming News Now, more than 900 blades will be brought to the Casper (Wyoming) Regional Landfill beginning now until the spring of next year. These blades come from a wind farm in Glenrock and two wind farms in Saratoga.

The Casper Solid Waste Manager, Cynthia Langston, told Wyoming News Now that though most turbine blades can be reused, there are some that are simply un-recyclable.

“Ninety percent of the turbines are completely reclaimed, recycled, and reused, but there is 10 percent that is fiberglass, so those are coming to us from three different farms in the state,” Langston said.

According to a report from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory that I found on the U.S. Geological Survey website, wind turbines are predominantly made of steel (71-79% of total turbine mass), fiberglass, resin, or plastic (11-16%), iron or cast iron (5- 17%), copper (1%), and aluminum (0-2%).

To save space the landfill will cut each blade into three separate parts before transporting them and then stack them on each other to be buried, according to the article.

And if you think the buck stops in Casper, Wyo., think again. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, on average 3,000 turbines have been built in the U.S. each year since 2005. So, if my math is correct, that leaves us with about 42,000 wind turbines to maintain and eventually dispose of, and that number is rising as you are reading this.

So how much energy do you think it takes to build, transport, erect, decommission, recycle and reuse these turbines? Maybe this should be studied instead of spending so much time trying to determine how much greenhouse gases cattle release when they fart or belch, or whatever.

Of course, I am no rocket scientist so my opinion doesn’t count for much. And I (a mere journalist) can’t possibly do the math required to find out exactly how much energy is used by the wind turbine industry or how much greenhouse gases are expelled, but something smells pretty fishy to me.

Rally to Stop the Stealin’

You may notice that we have quite a lot of copy dedicated to the Rally to Stop the Stealin’, which was held last week in Omaha, Neb. There are actually three separate stories that start on pages 6, 9 and 18.

We just wanted to make sure you got all the information you need to make informed decisions. There are two important facets to the rally, one is the effort to save the ranching way of life, which is important to all of us. The other is knowing who is involved in these groups that organized the rally, which is equally as important.

Well, speaking of blowin’ in the wind, I’ve gone on long enough. ❖