New project targets circular economy for wind

SSE Renewables is one of the partners in the project

The university, SSE Renewables and Renewable Parts Limited (RPL) have announced the new partnership in support of developing a circular and sustainable wind sector in the UK.

They said, while the majority of minor components in a wind turbine can be reused, remanufactured or refurbished, most replacement parts are still sourced new, increasing the carbon footprint of the industry.

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the organisations outlines how they will explore a number of areas together, including developing a strategy to reduce waste from wind farms at the end of their life. The partnership plans to develop sustainable supply chains through research and innovation with a range of partners, with the aim of establishing Scotland as the advanced research and development centre for wind turbine component remanufacture within the UK.

Professor Sir Jim McDonald, vice-chancellor and principal of the University of Strathclyde, said: “This joint agreement builds on our successful long-standing collaborations with both SSE Renewables and RPL and links our technical expertise to the low carbon energy sector.”

The university is the operator of the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland.

“Strathclyde’s role as the leading research and skills partner will underpin the growth and development of the sector, de-risking innovation and positioning the university and the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland as leading institutions for sustainability in designing, manufacturing and operating wind turbines, as well as in education and skills development across the sector,” he added.

Stephen Wheeler, managing director of SSE Renewables, said: “This MoU sends an important message that SSE Renewables is serious about making sure renewable energy is truly sustainable. For SSE Renewables, sustainability is right at the core of our business strategy.

“We’ve recently appointed a new head of sustainability to our executive team, and we’re taking action to power sustainable change across our development and operational activities while championing a fair and just transition to net zero.

“Delivering on the ambition of this new partnership with the University of Strathclyde and Renewable Parts to develop sustainable supply chains and a circular economy in the UK wind sector is an significant step forward on our journey to net zero. This partnership will also help create highly-skilled, high-quality jobs and value for people across Scotland and the UK too.”

James Barry, Chief Executive of RPL, said: “This agreement marks a highly significant step in cooperation between our organisations, accelerating the deployment of circular economy solutions into operational service.  

“Decarbonsation of the supply chain through the application of parts remanufacture presents one of the greatest opportunities to increase sustainability and reduce environmental impact.

“This co-investment in new technology will not only enhance operational performance, but will create many new, high skilled jobs in the renewables sector within the UK economy.”

The team said that other companies and organisations working in this space are encouraged to join the partnership.

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