First standard for dismantling and recycling of wind turbines.
The German Institute for Standardization has published the DIN SPEC 4866, which is to be considered as industry standard in future. On the initiative of RDRWind, a consortium of 25 companies has developed this document over the period of one year. The consortium included experts from the wind energy industry, recycling experts, scientists as well as officials of authorities, such as the Federal Environment Agency.
The German wind energy industry is facing a dismantling wave as of 2021. Approximately 30,000 wind turbines are currently rotating on meadows and fields throughout Germany and every second one of them will approach the end of their lifetime in the coming ten years, because they have either come to the end of their service life or continued operation no longer pays off.
Already at the turn of the year 2020/ 2021, more than 5,200 wind turbines will reach the end of their 20-year feed-in tariff support under the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG), a further 8,000 turbines are due to follow by the end of 2025. Some of these wind turbines have already been replaced prematurely as part of a repowering, others will continue to be operated beyond the end of their support period.
The DIN SPEC 4866 with the title “Sustainable Dismantling, Disassembly, Recycling and Recovery of Wind Turbines” stipulates framework conditions for the entire dismantling process from planning via the actual dismantling through to documentation and provides, among other things, a first assistance to the operators.
To name just a few examples, DIN SPEC 4866 gives recommendations on how to secure the construction site and which qualifications workers need to have, who perform the dismantling. It describes how rotor blades, tower and nacelle ought to be disassembled and which safety measures are necessary to prevent any harmful substances from escaping into the environment. It explains which of the turbine’s components can be recycled or recovered in which way, how the dismantling has to be documented and which official authorizations are necessary in which German federal state.
The recommendations will help operators and specialised companies to plan and carry out dismantling projects. Both operators of wind farms and demolition and recycling companies will from now on be able to agree on a standardized procedure in future. Moreover, the DIN SPEC 4866 also helps municipalities and authorities to monitor and assess the dismantling.