A new report has revealed that 65 GW of European onshore wind turbines will reach end-of-design-life by 2028 and will be needing upgrades or replacement
A new report has revealed that 65 GW of European onshore wind turbines will reach end-of-design-life by 2028. From 2019 to 2028, an average of 4 GW of turbines per year that are reaching end-of-design-life will be lifetime extension (LTE) suitable.
The report by Wood Mackenzie reveals that while upgrading components to extend the life of a turbine – the LTE option – is much cheaper than alternative options available, not all asset owners will choose to implement an LTE solution.
Commenting on the report, ‘European Onshore Wind Lifetime Extension Outlook’, Daniel Liu, Wood Mackenzie principal analyst, said that the decision to extend the operational lifetime of turbine assets depends on asset owner strategies, project economics and site and turbine operating conditions.
“Distributed sites – those with three or fewer turbines – are economically less suitable for operating beyond design lifetime with a considerable refurbishment and/or upgrade work. Larger sites need to balance regulatory issues, financial risks, technical challenges and operational challenges to make lifetime extensions economically viable.”
According to the report, complete turbine repowering is one of the solutions proposed to maintain the existing capacity of the European onshore wind turbine fleet. This involves the wholesale replacement of old turbines with new technology. However, the costs of new technology, permitting issues, regulatory hurdles and asset owner resources make repowering a daunting proposition for many operators. LTE is an alternative to decommissioning or complete repowering.
“We have identified 42GW of turbines reaching end-of-life by 2028 that have a commercially available LTE solution” added Liu.
The leading onshore wind markets in Europe – Germany, Spain, UK and France – are unlikely to meet 2020 renewable energy targets. A new regulation is needed to prevent wholesale removal of wind generation capacity. Providing regulatory support for LTE projects is one way to preserve existing capacity.