Options for developing regulation on demolishing retired wind turbines
The Ministry of the Environment commissioned a study of the legislation on the demolition of wind turbines to assess whether there are needs for amendments.
The study examined the legislation concerning the demolition and waste management of wind turbines located on land that are no longer in use in Finland and in the reference countries, Sweden, Germany and France. The criterion for selecting the reference countries was that the practices and legislation related to wind turbine demolition differ from those applied in Finland.
In Finland there is no special legislation concerning the demolition of wind turbines, and neither are the special needs related to the ending of wind turbine operations or the demolition of turbines and their foundations taken into account in the legislation on construction, environmental protection or waste management. Because of the general nature of the regulation, the land lease contracts between wind power companies and owners of properties where the turbines are located are the key means for managing the issues related to wind turbine demolition. The need to develop the regulation is also based on a concern about who is responsible for the demolition of turbines and its financing in situations where the wind power company is insolvent.
The study identifies alternative means for more specific regulation on wind turbine demolition in Finland. Among the options raised is the possibility to include provisions on the demolition obligation of wind turbines and conditions for granting construction permits in the legislation concerning construction. The study also presents a model where the planning contracts with municipalities oblige the wind power operators to demolish the wind turbine after it is no longer in use and to lodge a security for the benefit of the municipality that ensures the performance of the demolition measures.
In France, for example, there is special legislation on the responsibility for wind turbine demolition and lodging of securities. The model would make it possible to take the special characteristics of the wind power sector into account and to coordinate the provisions with the current planning and permit procedures concerning wind power construction.
The study was conducted by Hannes Snellman Attorneys Ltd in summer 2023. The findings will be utilised in the implementation of the Programme of Prime Minister Petteri Orpo’s Government.
Senior Specialist, Legal Affairs
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