Track: Renewable Energy
A top priority for most countries and major organizations is to focus on actions to align with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) established by the United Nations in 2015. Today, the installed capacity of wind generation is steadily growing worldwide, while 34,000 wind turbines are 15 years or older. Furthermore, the number of decommissioned wind turbines is expected to increase significantly in the coming years. In this context, the evaluation of the waste management processes for wind turbine decommissioning in terms of sustainability is imperative. Wind turbine decommissioning options have to comply with SDGs linked to the safe disposal and/or recycling of energy production systems. This study aims to develop an indicator-oriented framework to evaluate the environmental, economic, and social impacts generated by different decommissioning scenarios of a wind turbine system to ensure it complies with these goals. Initially, a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is performed to generate values for indicators that are related to each decommissioning scenario. Next, those indicators that are directly related to selected SDGs are identified. The proposed methodology applies Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) to assess the efficiency of alternative wind turbine decommissioning scenarios based on selected criteria. These criteria are directly related to the previously identified indicators satisfying specific SDGs. Alternative decommissioning scenarios are benchmarked using different sustainability criteria/indicators as DEA inputs/outputs and utilized to determine best practice-based decision-making strategies. The joint application of LCA and DEA could represent a methodological framework for sustainability assessment and benchmark definition of waste management alternatives.