The Scottish Government is issuing guidance on dismantling wind farms. Research carried out for Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) looked at forming a restoration and decommissioning template for wind farm owners.
The study proposes a planned phasing out of a site to leave as little trace as possible.
The consultants say wind farm developers should build up a better understanding of a site’s natural heritage features and how they would respond to change before considering it for use.
SNH’s renewables policy officer, Kenny Taylor, said: “As well as covering the ins and outs of decommissioning, it highlights other techniques such as repowering where new technology is used to resurrect an older site and can benefit the environment by having ‘cleaner’ and newer techniques used.
“Looking ahead, the report will help developers of future wind farms to build them with decommissioning in mind. Knowing how they will remove it will help inform how they will build it.”
The study also looks at the used turbine market.
Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire MSP John Lamont told The Southern: “It is vital that steps are taken when any wind farm is coming up for decommissioning to ensure that they will not leave a lasting impact on the area they were in.
“These guidelines look as if they will minimise the impact of defunct turbines and it is clear Scottish Borders Council should take these into consideration.
“With reports suggesting that some wind farms may have a life span of just 10 to 15 years, this issue will become more and more important and it is only common sense to start making preparations for their removal now.”
The research was undertaken by SLR Consulting Ltd alongside a steering group which included representatives from the renewables industry.