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First successful repowering of wind farm in India by Gamesa

Repowering of old wind farms is a huge opportunity in India. There are a number of such old wind farms in the southern districts of Tamil Nadu- Tirunelveli, Thoothukudi, Nagercoil and Kanyakumari districts.

These districts include the famed wind belts of Muppandhal, Pannakudi and Kayathar. There are also opportunities in the Coimbatore district.

There are numerous turbines installed in the state of Tamil Nadu that are older than 15 years and some between 10-15 years. All these turbines are sub megawatt with low hub heights.

Gamesa announced the successful completion of the first phase of the repowering project in Coimbatore-India at a Wind conference in Chennai last week.

The phase 1 repowering was for an old wind farm in Coimbatore for Super Sales Limited, a subsidiary of LMW group of Coimbatore. The wind farm had 29 300kw turbines and 2 500kw BHEL Nordex  turbines for a total capacity of 9.7MW.

The cuf of the old wind farm was about 13-17% and the turbines were of 1995-96 vintage. In their study and plan, Gamesa intended to replace the old turbines with 15 Gamesa G-58 850kw turbines after micrositing and site analysis.

In the phase 1 of the project Gamesa has successfully replace 8 300kw turbines and 2 500kw turbines with 4 G-58 850kw turbines.

The repowering potential in our estimates is about 1.5-2GW in India over the next couple of years, though there are a number of challenges that need to be sorted out as development happens.

However what will be attractive to IPP’s is that some of these wind sites have a cuf potential of at least 31% if not higher. Further, with revised micrositing and better turbines, some sites could offer an additional 20%-30% installed capacity potential in these sites. A few specific Wind focused IPP’s have been in discussion about these opportunities and potentials with Panchbuta.

With the successful completion of the first project and with numerous projects under discussion between turbine manufacturers and first generation wind farm owners, repowering seems to be on the verge of a decided take off after a lot of discussion about its potential and opportunities in India.

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