Decommissioning the Lava Ridge Wind Project

Wind turbines are sparking an emerging industry for recycling innovators, creating jobs and new income streams while challenging what has been accepted as the status quo for an industry known for its sustainability.

As turbine technology has advanced, so have the materials. New turbines are constructed out of highly recyclable materials like metal and composites, and manufacturers are partnering with researchers and companies to find new ways of creating value.

Many wind turbines live a second life as pallets, decking materials, concrete additives, and milk crates. In cases where turbine blades cannot be recycled, they can be disposed of as inert waste – giving landfills another avenue for revenue.

The Lava Ridge Wind Project has a detailed and thorough decommissioning plan included in the Bureau of Land Management’s draft Environmental Impact Statement. The BLM requires Magic Valley Energy to have a bond to ensure the project is removed to their specifications and the area reclaimed.

Decommissioning includes removing the installed power generation equipment and ancillary facilities, aiming to reclaim the site to similar conditions as the undisturbed surrounding areas. Project decommissioning and reclamation are expected to be completed over two years.

The primary activities required for the decommissioning would be as follows:

  • Remove wind turbines and met towers
  • Remove overhead electrical system and lines buried less than 2 feet below grade
  • Remove structural foundations in accordance with a BLM-approved Decommissioning Plan
  • Remove roads not desired by BLM for other purposes
  • Re-grade and re-contour the disturbed area
  • Reseed the disturbed area to revegetate with desired plant species

The proposed Reclamation Plan focuses on re-contouring disturbed areas to blend into the surrounding areas while controlling noxious weeds and revegetating with desirable plant species.

All dismantling, removal, recycling, and disposal of materials generated during decommissioning will comply with rules, regulations, and prevailing laws at the time decommissioning is initiated and will use approved local or regional disposal or recycling sites as available.