April 16 (Renewables Now) - Allete Clean Energy has refurbished more than 50% of the turbines at its Lake Benton and Storm Lake wind farms in Minnesota and Iowa, the combined capacity of which stands at 290 MW, qualifying them for federal production tax credits (PTCs).
The Allete Inc (NYSE:ALE) subsidiary in the summer of 2017 announced a USD-80-million (EUR 70.8m) investment to replace certain blades, gearboxes and generators at 385 turbines at the parks. It said on Monday it has received the 45th set of new turbine blades from Tecsis for the refurbishment initiative.
The refurbishment is being implemented in phases through 2020 so as to minimise turbine downtime at the 103.5-MW Lake Benton wind farm in Minnesota and the 78-MW Storm Lake 1 and 108-MW Storm Lake 2 parks in Iowa. Apart from turbine upgrades, it also includes the installation of new fiber optic connections, servers, and data acquisition and management systems.
The three wind farms together produce roughly 700 GWh of electricity per year, or 50% of Allete Clean Energy’s current power sales. The output of Lake Benton is contracted through 2028, and Allete Clean Energy has agreements to sell power from 8 MW of Storm Lake 1 through 2032. It is currently looking to recontract the remaining output from the park as its power sales contracts expire near the end of the current year. Storm Lake 2’s offtake contract, menawhile, has been extended through mid-2020.