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October 11, 2018

UK opens first wind turbine recycling centre

Industrial equipment supplier Renewable Parts has opened the UK’s first wind turbine recycling and repair centre in the seaside town of Lochgilphead in Scotland.

By Scarlett Evans

Industrial equipment supplier Renewable Parts has opened the UK’s first wind turbine recycling and repair centre in the seaside town of Lochgilphead in Scotland.

The company launched the business as part of a quarter of a million pound investment, saying it hopes the centre marks the beginning of the ‘next phase in the industry’s development’.

Renewable Parts refurbished a former ambulance centre to house the new business.

The site’s opening follows news last month from energy consultancy firm DNV GL that a number of European wind farms were approaching the end of their expected 25-year lifetimes. The company said end-of-life planning is ‘becoming an increasingly prominent issue in the renewables sector’, particularly in the wind industry.

Scottish Renewables policy manager Stephanie Conesa said: “Onshore wind is now the cheapest form of energy generation available and remanufacturing, refurbishing and reconditioning turbine parts can help the sector to go even further in cutting costs.”

Wind farms at the end of their lifecycle are decommissioned and their equipment scrapped, but Renewable Parts argue many of the scrapped parts can be repaired and resold.

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Renewable Parts chief executive James Barry said: “Over their typical 25-year lifecycle, wind turbines generate high quantities of used material that is turned to scrap.  Renewable Parts aims to significantly reduce this level of waste, offering fully warranted refurbished parts to customers at up to 40% below the cost of new.”

Similar ventures have been set up in Germany, the Netherlands and Denmark, and Barry said he believes Renewable Parts has ‘first mover’ advantage in Britain.

The firm will use its aftermarket spares warehouse in Renfrew near Glasgow to provide the turbine repair and recycle service, while engineering advice will be sourced from the University of Strathclyde and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The Lochgilphead centre currently employs four people, though Renewable Parts has voiced the hope that the new venture will allow staff numbers to at least double in the coming years.

University of Strathclyde vice-chancellor Jim McDonald said of the collaboration: “I think the courage, the investment and the commitment that I’ve learned about from Renewable Parts makes this a massive success story,

“Scotland needs more of this and it’s of great personal pride for me that my institution is so heavily involved with Renewable Parts through the development of a productive strategic partnership.”

The refurbishment centre has already won awards for Best Circular Economy Initiative at the Scottish Resources Awards, and Best Innovation in Business at the Glasgow Business Awards.

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