Sept. 2023
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Windfarm Repower Projects Mean $3.5 Billion in Potential U.S. Spending

As aging wind turbines approach the end of their operational lives, the concept of windfarm repowering is gaining traction. Repowering involves revitalization of existing windfarms through the replacement, upgrading or reconfiguration of their components, with the goal of enhancing energy production efficiency and reliability, and often increasing generation capacity. As the hundreds of wind turbines that have been installed throughout the U.S. in recent years begin aging, repowering projects are expected to become more prevalent. The repower segment already represents a strong pool of projects, with Industrial Info tracking more than $3.5 billion worth of active projects.

It should come as no surprise that the highest concentration of wind repower projects is occurring in an area that has been home to windfarms for many years and has many of them: the U.S. Midwest. Examples of projects in this region include Greenbacker Renewable Energy Company's (New York, New York) repower of the 40-megawatt Elk Windfarm in Greeley, Iowa. The existing Nordex (Rostock, Germany) blades, nacelles and rotors on 17 turbines will be replaced with General Electric (NYSE:GE) (GE) (Boston, Massachusetts) components. Engineering, procurement and construction contractor M.A. Mortenson Company (Minneapolis, Minnesota) is expected to complete the repower by the end of this year. Subscribers to Industrial Info's Global Market Intelligence (GMI) Power Project Database can click here for more details.

One of the biggest active repower projects is being planned for BP plc's (NYSE:BP) (London, England) Fowler Ridge Windfarm in Fowler, Indiana. As early as next year, BP could begin replacing 182 Vestas turbines with new equipment. The repower is expected to take about a year, finishing in 2025, when BP could begin a repower at another site of the complex, Fowler Ridge II, replacing 133 1.5-MW GE turbines with 100 turbines rated between 1.8 and 2 MW. This portion of the repower could be completed in 2026. Subscribers can learn more by viewing the reports on the projects at the Fowler Ridge I and Fowler Ridge II sites.

On a company-by-company basis, AES Corporation (NYSE:AES) (Arlington, Virginia) has both the highest number of planned repower projects (six) and the highest planned spending ($602 million). All of AES' planned repower projects are in New York state. Examples of AES projects include the repower of its wind facility in Altona, New York. The blades, drive trains and hubs of the 65 existing GE turbines, each rated at 1.5 MW, will be replaced with newer components rated at 1.62 MW, increasing the windfarm's total generation capacity by a few megawatts. The project is expected to be completed next summer. Subscribers can click here for more details.

Next year, AES plans to kick off similar projects at its two wind facilities near Churubusco, New York. The Noble Clinton Windfarm will see 67 1.5-MW turbines uprated to 1.6-MW equipment, while the Valcour Ellenburg Windfarm will see 56 turbines uprated from 1.5 MW to 1.6 MW. Subscribers can learn more by viewing the project reports on the Noble Clinton and Valcour Ellenburg projects.

Among the largest repower projects currently underway is Xcel Energy Incorporated's (NASDAQ:XEL) (Minneapolis, Minnesota) project at its Grand Meadow Windfarm near Dexter, Minnesota. The project kicked off in 2022 and entails replacing 67 turbines rated at 1.5 MW with 1.6 MW turbines featuring larger rotors, upgraded gearboxes and other associated components. The project is expected to be completed by the end of this year. Subscribers can click here to learn more.

The windfarms set for repower projects in the immediate future have been operating for a number of years. As the recent wave of U.S. wind installations begins aging in the coming years, the value and frequency of such projects is expected to increase accordingly.

Subscribers to Industrial Info's GMI Power Database can click here to view reports for all of the projects discussed in this article and click here for the related plant profiles.