RWE Renewables announced this Monday it partnered with GE Renewable Energy to repower its Panther Creek III onshore wind farm in West Texas. The agreement includes the replacement of a significant portion of the wind turbine components; and also, the installation of longer blades and upgrading existing gearboxes.
Firstly, the refurbishment of the site will increase its total capacity to 215 megawatts. According to the company’s statement, the erection of the new 133 turbines and commercial operations of the new site will happen in the third quarter of 2021.
Secondly, almost all of the components removed from the turbines will be recycled; specifically, the blades. As part of GE Renewables agreement with Veolia North America; Veolia will process the blades as raw materials for cement manufacturing.
Thirdly, almost 90% by weight of the turbines removed will be recycled, utilizing a cement kiln co-processing technology. Ben Stafford, GE Renewable Energy’s Services Sales and Commercial Operations Leader, said. “Through repowering, we have the opportunity to extend the life of these turbines; while also improving the performance and reliability of the wind farm.”
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On the other hand, Anja-Isabel Dotzenrath, CEO RWE Renewables, said. “Repowering Panther Creek III allows us to increase our earnings for this site. In addition, we are able to capture up-to-date turbine efficiency improvements, extending the lifetime of this facility.”
She also remarked. “Panther Creek III has been an excellent performer for us in the past; and we are able to employ lessons learned from our previous repowering of Panther Creek I and Panther Creek II wind farms to improve reliability.”
Indeed, this is not the first repowering agreement with GE Renewables; in the past, RWE commissioned Panther Creek I for 142,5 MW; Panther Creek II, for 115,5 MW. While Panther Creek III came online in August 2009, and was the last of the three to come online.
Consequently, this repowering reinforces RWE’s strategy to keep growing its renewables business and to become carbon neutral by 2040. RWE constructs, owns and operates some of the highest performing wind, solar and energy storage projects in the U.S.