Ørsted commits to sustainable recycling of wind turbine blades

The company announced its new commitment to either reuse, recycle, or recover all of the wind turbine blades in Ørsted’s global portfolio of onshore and offshore wind farms upon decommissioning. The commitment comes as a part of Ørsted’s new company strategy which includes an ambition to expand its leading sustainability position and as part of the work towards achieving a carbon-neutral footprint by 2040.

Today, between 85 % and 95 % of a wind turbine can be recycled, but recycling of wind turbine blades remains a challenge, as the blades are designed to be lightweight, yet durable, making them challenging to break apart. Consequently, most decommissioned blades are landfilled today. Should the challenge with recycling blades take longer to solve than anticipated, Ørsted will not use landfilling for decommissioned wind turbine blades, but will instead temporarily store the blades.

In the coming decade, wind turbines will be deployed at an unprecedented pace, delivering clean renewable energy to industries and to several hundreds of million people, making it even more important to decommission the blades in a sustainable way.

Ørsted has so far constructed 7.5 GW of offshore wind and 1.7 GW of onshore wind. Up until now, Ørsted has only decommissioned the offshore wind farm Vindeby in Denmark where the blades from the 11 wind turbines were all reused. With Ørsted’s new strategic ambition of installing 30 GW of offshore wind and 17.5 GW of onshore energy production, including onshore wind, by 2030, Ørsted has a clear responsibility to help find solutions to the challenge of recycling blades.

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