US-based renewable energy company Pattern Energy Group has initiated construction work on the repowering of the Gulf wind project, located on the Gulf Coast in Kenedy County, Texas.
The project involves replacing the existing 118 Mitsubishi 2.4MW wind turbines with new Siemens Gamesa SWT-2.3-108 wind turbines. It also includes replacing nacelles, towers and blades of the turbines.
The Siemens Gamesa SWT2.3-108 turbines, which fly 108-metre blades atop 80-metre towers, will generate 271MW of capacity, enough to meet annual energy needs of about 80,000 Texas homes in Texas.
Pattern Energy president and CEO Mike Garland said: “Repowering Gulf Wind with brand new turbines made strong economic sense due to its unique location on the Gulf Coast, where the winds blow strongest at the times of Texas’ peak energy demand and pricing.
“Gulf Wind was our first wind power facility and technology has improved rapidly since it first began operating over a decade ago.
“By installing the latest technology turbines, we expect the repowered facility to have more efficient production, lower operating costs, renewed production tax credits (PTCs) and longer life which combine to increase the long-term value of our fleet.”
The Gulf Wind facility, which started commercial operations in 2009, has entered into a 20-year power purchase agreement with Austin Energy that covers the majority of the project’s output, with the rest of the electricity to be sold at merchant power prices.
Pattern Energy estimates that the facility will contribute about $90m to the local economy through tax and landowner payments for over 25 years.
About 450 people worked onsite during construction and 23 workers remain onsite for the facility maintenance and operation.
Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy onshore Americas CEO José Antonio Miranda said: “Repowering provides an opportunity to increase the efficiency, reliability and longevity of existing wind farms.”
Pattern Energy begins repowering of Gulf wind project in US. (Credit: Pattern Energy Group Inc)