Producing more energy with fewer wind turbines. That's the achievement accomplished by ENGIE's teams at the Karstädt-Waterloo wind farm, located 150 kilometers northwest of Berlin. Out of the 60 wind turbines on the site that have been in operation for two decades, 20 have been dismantled and replaced by 7 new ones which are 4.8 times more powerful per unit. Their total installed capacity will increase from 26 megawatts to 43.4 megawatts.
A Matter of Size
The explanation? “Bigger size allows for a higher nominal power,” explains Sebastian Heinisch, Solar and Wind Project Manager at ENGIE Germany. These new Vestas V162 turbines, towering at 247 meters (to put this into perspective, the Eiffel Tower is 330 meters high, and the previous turbines measured just 99 meters), have a capacity of 6.2 megawatts each, compared to “only” the 1.33 megawatts of their predecessors. That's nearly a 1-to-5 ratio.
This “repowering” technique allows ENGIE to significantly increase the production of a wind farm without acquiring additional land, contributing to the Group's goal of achieving 58% renewable capacity in its energy production by 2030.
To carry out this unprecedented project, ENGIE's teams paid special attention to recycling the old turbines. The demolition of the 20 foundations generated 5,800 cubic meters of recyclable concrete, which was used to construct the new wind turbines. According to WindEurope, about 85 to 90% of the total mass of wind turbines can be recycled, and their various components are handled by recycling processes. In the case of Karstädt, ENGIE even managed to recycle 99% of the components, including the blades.
This first “repowering” project in Germany has allowed the Group, which operates 18 wind farms in the country, to gain valuable experience. With its 6.6 GW wind portfolio in Europe, spread across 400 sites, a quarter of which are over fifteen years old, ENGIE plans to carry out more such operations in the future. “We are planning the Repowering of another area of the Karstädt-Waterloo wind farm, which includes 10 Vestas turbines. In the rest of Germany, the next repowering project will be located at Saxony-Anhalt, in Querstedt, which lies between Berlin and Wolfsburg,” concludes Sebastian Heinisch.