CASPER, Wyo. — Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon signed a bill into law on Monday, March 23 which authorizes the disposal of wind turbine blades and shells into abandoned coal mines in the state.
House Bill 129 allows 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.”
Senate District 09 Senator Chris Rothfuss said ahead of first reading that “we have an incredible opportunity” to use the turbine blades as back-fill in coal mines being reclaimed in the Powder River Basin.
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“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.”
House Bill 217 would have prohibited the disposal of wind turbine parts in Wyoming landfills, but that bill stalled out in the Senate during the legislative session.