Repowering with WindESCo — Underperformance Is Not the End

On December 6-7 WindESCo attended the CLEANPOWER 2021 conference in Salt Lake City. During the show, we exhibited WindESCo Swarm.  We also listened to interviews hosted by American Clean Power Association CEO, Heather Zichal as she spoke with members of the White House staff,  executives, investors, asset managers and other industry influencers in the wind, solar and storage spaces.

Among the presentations was a panel on repowering aging fleets. Speakers included Principal Analyst from Wood Mackenzie, Leila Garcia da Fonseca, VP Commercial of Asset Management from Longroad Energy, Jeremy Law, General Manager of Duke Energy Sustainable Solutions, Steve Scott and CEO of Boston Energy (and former WindESCo VP) Samuel Tasker. The speakers discussed whether your underperforming fleet is just a midlife crisis or is it time for the assets to retire?

Midlife Crisis or Time for Retirement?

Similar to bringing your car to the mechanic to keep it running optimally, your aging wind turbines need attention. Over the years turbines experience wear and tear. Assets that operated at 99% 10-years ago are now decreasing their energy production due to old data, technology and/or parts. Even if you replace failing parts, there still may be too much of a technology gap. Therefore, the fleet software may also need updating in order to function properly with the updated machinery. 

The speakers during the CLEANPOWER panel discussion agreed that repowering is how you get the most out of your assets. It extends the fleet lifetime and allows you to increase annual energy production. Repowering is also an effective way to reuse assets, rather than scrapping them when they don't perform to their original specifications. This is better for the environment and costs less in the long run.

How Can WindESCo help?

Even after repowering turbines, you may find that your wind fleet is not performing to your expectations. WindESCo solutions access untapped potential at existing wind sites, which can be used during repowering projects. WindESCo uses high speed data to determine if wind turbines are operating below potential. Then, we fix the underperformance and measure the improvement. This results in a 1-2% AEP increase.

Think of it this way: improving output just a few percentage points is equal to installing one additional turbine for every 20 turbines within an existing fleet over five years. Further, WindESCo often achieves results like this for customers without needing to step foot on-site or to make physical upgrades.

To continue increasing wind power, WindESCo recently announced its latest innovation, WindESCo Swarm. Swarm takes maximizing AEP of existing assets to a new level through collective control, increasing AEP by 3-5% site-wide. This allows turbines to learn from and adapt to neighboring turbines, creating a cooperative turbine control system. Swarm creates retrofit and repowering opportunities that will substantially improve production worldwide at wind sites without the need to build new turbines. Swarm also helps ensure that every last MW of wind power is captured at new sites. 

WindESCo helps asset managers and owners extend the life of their assets by increasing AEP on existing turbines. As mentioned at the CLEANPOWER conference: "if something fails - wind or solar - the community doesn't think about the brand of the turbine or panel. It looks bad for the entire wind industry. This means we need to collectively think of repowering as a priority."  If we all focus on repowering outdated and underperforming assets, we can limit failures while increasing energy output and assets life.