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This paper is about how repowering older PV and Wind projects are rapidly becoming some of the largest segments in the renewable marketplace.

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John Benson's picture

Thank John for the Post!

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Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Mar 26, 2019 4:11 pm GMT

John, what's the difference between "repowering" and "replacing"? Seems like the term's only purpose is to put a happy face on the miserable life expectancy of renewable infrastructure.

John Benson's picture
John Benson on Mar 26, 2019 6:29 pm GMT

Hi Bob:

Repowering is the term that has been used by electric utility professionals for a long time for any generating plant replacement with another technology or design.

I can only speak to the turbines in the Altamont. The older 100 kW - class turbines were working fine when replaced in spite of their age. These were originally U.S. Windpower units (U.S. Windpower was the main developer for most of the original Altamont wind farms).

When I worked for Siemens, I ran across a firm that was taking the old units, refurbishing them, adding Siemens power-electronics to make them variable speed and reselling them.

The main reason NextEra replaced the turbines was pressure from local and state government bodies to reduce the predation issue. Of course the other reasons given in my paper were also factors.

You will be happy to know that my next paper (a week from today) will be another one on Nukes - these are (literally) out of this world.


Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Mar 26, 2019 7:32 pm GMT

Looking forward to it - with a teaser like that, you missed your calling!

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Mar 27, 2019 1:02 am GMT

"Whereas many of the old turbines in the Altamont were in the 100 kW range, these were being replaced with 2 MW turbines at a ratio of one new turbine replacing at approximately 30 old turbines."

Wow-- that's a huge upgrade. And given the relative inexpensiveness of running the fuel-free turbines, I would imagine the lifecycle costs of these 'repowering' or 'replacements' or whatever you want to call them is still probably pretty great compared with many alternatives

John Benson's picture
John Benson on Mar 27, 2019 2:43 pm GMT

Hi Matt:

The cost of implementing utility-scale turbines have been coming down dramatically, ditto the energy cost. As of 2016 the costs for implementing such a project using utility-scale turbines were $1,590/kW. The Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE) from current utility-scale wind projects was an average of $44/MWh in 2015. For more information see the earlier post linked below.


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