Wind Energy Decommissioning/Site Reclamation: Resource Requirements and Impact Sources
Decommissioning and site reclamation activities include facility removal and revegetation.
Decommissioning of a wind energy project would include removal of turbines, buildings, concrete pads, and foundations; and the excavation and removal of buried components. Underground components would be removed to a depth of at least three feet to ensure an unobstructed root zone for revegetation. More deeply buried components might be abandoned in place. Following removal of site components, site reclamation and revegetation would mitigate some impacts, such as soil erosion, habitat fragmentation, and visual impacts.
The following describes the factors that could affect whether an environmental impact could occur and whether it would be considered an adverse effect.
Acreage — As with the construction phase, virtually the entire land area of the wind farm would be impacted by decommissioning and deconstruction activities.
Waste Generation — Wastes generated would include solid and industrial wastes similar to those from construction, broken concrete, turbine components, electronic equipment and transformers.
Water Needs — Water would be needed for dust suppression, fire-fighting contingency, potable supply for the workforce.
Workforce — Approximately one-half to two-thirds of the construction workforce would be needed for a period lasting about half as long as construction, and specialty crews would be needed for some operations (tower dismantlement).