Case

Fritz Schur Energy helping to enhance lifespan of King Mountain wind farm, Texas

King Mountain wind farm was completed in 2001 and consists of 214 units of legacy Bonus 1.3 MW turbines. In 2018 however, it was time to update the wind turbines to give them new life and enhance the lifespan of the farm.

(Please note that the picture is taken before the retrofit)

King Mountain wind farm was completed in 2001 and consists of 214 units of legacy Bonus 1.3 MW turbines.

The King Mountain Wind Farm is a 278.2 MW wind farm in Upton County, Texas, United States. 214 legacy Bonus 1.3 MW wind turbines are sited in rows along the south-eastern and north-western edges of a mesa surrounded by deep ravines.  Annual electricity production is more than 750 GW.

Challenge

Dust, sand, and high temperatures place extraordinary demands on the wind turbines. The sand and dust wear the wind turbine, as it can settle on the wind turbine’s hardware fastening the wear and tear of the components. At the same time, the high local temperatures demand cooling equipment that can withstand harsh conditions and ensure that the wind turbine components do not overheat.

Solution

FSE was brought in to update the wind in a repowering project.

A repowering project is a unique opportunity to enhance the lifespan of a wind farm and adding years to this creates an even more sustainable business case for the customer. New innovations in wind power technology have dramatically increased the power output of new turbines compared with older designs.

Repowering a wind farm means replacing older, generally smaller, wind turbines with newer, generally larger, and more efficient designs or complete upgrades of the current systems in the turbines e.g., the hydraulic pitch system.

To accommodate the unique desert-like conditions, the design was modified to provide additional cooling and protection against wind-blown sand.

Fritz Schur Energy (FSE) played a vital role in enhancing and improving the lifespan of the King Mountain Project by delivering crucial technology and equipment to our partner, Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy (SGRE).

FSE has since 1997 worked closely with SGRE and combined with our extensive know-how and experience we were able to deliver a state-of-the-art solution. FSE’s scope included hydraulic power units (HPU), pitch manifolds, accumulators, and hoses.

An HPU system (also known as hydraulic power packs), which consists of a motor, a pump, and a system to handle fluid, creates the hydraulic pressure that drives the motor, the accumulators, and other parts of the hydraulic system. A hydraulic hose transports the hydraulic fluids as a part of the hydraulic system and the accumulator collects and stores energy for later use. These components make up the central elements of the hydraulic system and it is crucial to understand the interplay between them to create the most efficient turbine.

Results

The project resulted in an enhanced lifetime and updated technology for the King Mountain wind farm which generates value to both the owner of the farm and the area of people and companies who benefit from the updated energy resource.

In general, this could add up to 10 years of extended lifespan to the wind farm, however, it depends on the certificate of the wind turbine solution.

At Fritz Schur Energy we have many years of experience in repowering projects. Working towards a greener and more sustainable future is a priority to us and we constantly strive to achieve this in our everyday work.

We consider repowering as a core element in the pursuit of a more sustainable world. If it is possible to replace components and restore vital parts such as the foundations and towers, then we have come a long way in making wind turbine operations an even more sustainable energy source. Therefore, we consider both partial and full repowering as an important part of the future. And we want to continue to play an active role in repowering projects in the years to come.

The project was done in close corporation with SGRE and other partners which ensured a smooth operation that gave a successful solution and a happy customer.

About author

Fritz Schur Energy is a leading engineering and manufacturing company within hydraulic solutions for wind. Headquartered in Denmark, and with offices in the US and China as well as production facilities, we supply hydraulic system solutions and components worldwide. Hydraulic and sustainable energy is our passion and we have 30 years of experience in the wind industry.

Primary contact
Martin Fjordlund Teilberg

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