Is there an afterlife for wind installations in Italy?
Full project title: Is there an afterlife for wind installations in Italy?
Duration: 1 August 2022-1 August 2023
Funder: Royal Geographical Society-Institute of British Geographers (RGS-IBG)
Project Leaders for SPE: Dr Rebecca Windemer and Dr Carla De Laurentis
Other UWE Bristol researcher: Cindy Zhang (student research intern)
Ageing onshore wind infrastructures are an emerging environmental sustainability issue globally and have international significance in relation to the solutions for existing infrastructure in the UK and beyond. Europe has approximately 34,000 onshore turbines coming to the end of their lifespan; Italy is among the pioneering European countries in wind power which results in a high proportion of ageing onshore wind capacity. The lifespan of wind farms can be extended via reuse, refurbishment, and material repurposing. Although fewer onshore wind farms have been decommissioned compared to nuclear and offshore wind farms, the key challenge is how we can manage their decommissioning.
In Italy, 50% of onshore wind capacity is expected to reach end-of-life by 2030. The project will explore solutions for ageing wind infrastructure in Italy, raising questions on the long-term fate of the wind energy landscapes. This will provide policy insights for the UK, and elsewhere, into the rising decommissioning challenges.
This project draws together expertise from human geography, planning and innovation studies. Dr Windemer brings the expertise of end-of-life decision-making for UK wind infrastructure, meanwhile, Dr De Laurentis provides expertise in energy transitions policy, sustainable practices including circular economy models and renewable energy in Italy.