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Wind Power Question: What happens when a wind farm is taken down or decommissioned?

Answer: They proper way to dismantle and decommission a wind farm is actually determined by the local governments and should be covered by clauses in its planning permission. Usually these clauses require all visible traces of the wind farm to be removed. Visible traces include; the turbines, the power station and the service tracks, if there are any, although it may be best to leave them. Obviously each case is different, depending upon the size and geography of the development. Developers will then comply with the specific clauses in each region.

The concrete bases could be removed, but it may be better to leave them under the ground, as this causes fewer disturbances. If so, they would be covered with peat, stone or other indigenous material, and the site returned as closely as practicable to its original state. The turbine itself will often have a scrap / recycle value which will cover the costs of such ground restoration.

Wind energy technology is essential reversible, and compared to the problems associated with decommissioning a nuclear power station, or a coal or gas fired plant, decommissioning a wind farm is straight forward and simple with little or no environmental impact.

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