RWE Renewables said this week that it has partnered with GE Renewable Energy to repower its Panther Creek III wind farm in West Texas.
The Panther Creek III wind farm, which came online in 2009 is part of a mega-complex that includes the 142.5-MW Panther Creek I and 115.5-MW Panther Creek II, both of which have already undergone repowering.
Panther Creek III currently uses 133 of GE’s 1.5-MW turbines for a total installed capacity of 199.5 MW. By replacing a significant portion of the wind turbine components, including installing longer blades and upgrading existing gearboxes, its new capacity will be 215 MW, said RWE.
The erection and commissioning of the project is expected to be complete in third quarter of 2021.
Recycling the used blades
The blades that are removed during the repowering will be processed and recycled, as a part of GE Renewable Energy’s blade recycling agreement with Veolia North America, said the company. Veolia will process the blades for use as a raw material for cement, using a cement kiln co-processing technology. Nearly 90% of the blade material, by weight, will be reused as a repurposed engineered material for cement production, said the company.
“GE Renewable Energy is proud to work with RWE on the Panther Creek III repower project,” said Ben Stafford, GE Renewable Energy’s Services Sales and Commercial Operations Leader For Onshore Americas. “Through repowering, we have the opportunity to extend the life of these turbines, while also improving the performance and reliability of the wind farm—and by sustainably recycling wind turbine blades, we are working to create a circular economy for composite materials.”
Silvia Ortin, COO Onshore Wind and Solar PV Americas, RWE Renewables: “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. 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.”
The U.S. RWE said the U.S. accounts for more than one third of the the company’s renewables capacity playing a key role in RWE’s strategy to grow its renewables business and to become carbon neutral by 2040. RWE has 27 projects in operation and more to come, it said, including a recently-announced joint venture, New England Aqua Ventus, focused on floating offshore wind in the state of Maine.