Scotland To Become Leader In Recycling Windturbine Blades

An initiative to position Scotland as a European hub for the recycling and repurposing of wind turbine blades is included in a deal agreed by the Scottish Government and industry.

The commitment to establish at least one specialist facility by 2030 forms part of the Onshore Wind Sector Deal signed today at the Scottish Renewables Onshore Wind Conference in Edinburgh.

The Deal lays out how the Government and industry will work together to harness the full potential of onshore wind to benefit communities, boost the economy and reduce carbon emissions.

Disposing of decommissioned turbine blades is an increasing challenge and the sector’s commitment to open a treatment plant, with Government support, will provide an environmentally-friendly solution, create jobs and place Scotland at the forefront of the emerging global technology.

The Deal also includes a Scottish Government aim to determine applications for larger new wind farms within a year when no public inquiry is required and two years with an inquiry. This would reduce the average determination time by 50% and will be achieved by streamlining processes while improving the format of applications. Further commitments will enhance training and resources while agreeing clear guidelines to ensure responsible development enabling positive outcomes for climate and nature.

Also in the Deal:

  • industry commits to creating apprenticeships, training opportunities and skilled jobs in Scotland for the lifetime of the deal
  • companies will engage with communities at the earliest possible opportunity to agree a community benefits package that meets or exceeds the Scottish Government’s good practice principles. This could include investment in low carbon heating in local homes and energy efficiency improvements
  • partners will work together to produce co-ordinated and resourced plans for the transport by road of wind turbine components
  • a commitment to support supply chains to reuse and refurbish parts to create a circular economy

Energy Secretary Neil Gray said:

“This deal is a practical example of Government and industry working closely together to reinforce our shared commitment to reaching net zero.
“As we embrace the possibilities, we acknowledge the challenges that lie ahead. Balancing the needs of energy production with proper environmental stewardship demands diligence and continuous innovation. This deal charts a course that safeguards our natural heritage while delivering clean, affordable energy to power our lives and industries.
“By benefiting communities we are ensuring the rewards of our onshore wind revolution are shared by all. This helps meet our Programme for Government commitments and create a green and growing economy with fairness at its heart.”

Circular Economy Minister Lorna Slater said:

“The sector deal reflects our shared determination to grow Scotland’s vital wind power sector and to create green jobs across the country as we transition to a net-zero economy. It will see more wind farms, more communities benefiting, and more economic opportunity, while ensuring developments are in harmony with our environment.
“ This deal also positions Scotland to become a world leader in decommissioning, remanufacturing and recycling of wind turbines and related assets, and I look forward to working with the industry to help make this happen.”

Scottish Renewables’ Chief Executive Claire Mack said:

“Today is a huge moment for the onshore wind industry in Scotland.
“A world leader in renewable energy, Scotland has an ambition for onshore wind to have 20GW of onshore wind by 2030 and the Onshore Wind Sector Deal will play a key role in helping us to hit this target.
“An incredible amount of hard work has gone in to making this deal happen and it is a real benefit to the industry knowing that the time onshore wind farms take to go through planning will be halved to only 12 months. It is also encouraging to see onshore wind farm operators and the Scottish Government committed to creating a sustainable solution and a circular economy supply chain for the recycling of wind turbine component parts.
“We look forward to working closely with the Scottish Government to ensure the Onshore Wind Sector Deal is effectively implemented on the road to achieving Scotland’s net-zero ambitions.”


Onshore Wind Sector Deal

The deal was signed by Energy Secretary Neil Gray, Energy Minister Gillian Martin, Chief Executive of Scottish Renewables Claire Mack and Managing Director Onshore UK and Ireland for ScottishPower Renewables Barry Carruthers.

The commitment on consenting for new windfarms relates to Section 36 applications

Programme for Government – Energy Secretary priorities