More power for the Krusemark-Ellingen wind farm in Saxony-Anhalt: The decision has recently been taken to “repower” this project, which was initially constructed between 1998 and 2004, and the sixth and last new wind turbine has been put in place. The state-of-the-art Nordex turbines, each with a generation capacity of 3.3 megawatts (MW), replace the 15 existing Enercon systems, resulting in a substantial increase in the wind farm’s generation capacity overall, despite the lower number of rotors. The location now has a total installed capacity of 19.8 MW, compared to “only” 15.7 MW previously. That represents an increase of about a quarter. The new systems can provide a climate-neutral supply of electricity to more than 13,000 households.
Krusemark-Ellingen is RWE’s third repowering project in Germany. Replacing older systems with a smaller number of much more powerful turbines makes it possible to extend the life cycle of many locations. Studies confirm that simply installing state-of-the-art systems at established sites in Germany has the potential to boost wind power generation to more than 210 terawatt hours (TWh) by 2030 (2020: 132 TWh). To put this in context, 210 TWh represents approximately 37 percent of Germany’s gross electricity consumption in 2020. Repowering can therefore be an important tool in achieving the German government’s greatly increased expansion targets for renewables. These are ambitious goals, and RWE wishes to make a significant contribution: It is bolstering its team accordingly, with 200 new employees to be appointed in the short term to forge ahead with project development in Germany.
Krusemark-Ellingen is a showcase project for RWE in many regards: “For the first time we are dismantling existing turbines and simultaneously installing new systems,” says Jens Edler-Krupp, who is responsible for developing RWE’s German onshore wind farms. “As a result, it’s possible to keep the old systems running and generating electricity for as long as possible. In addition, the wind farm now consists of just six matching turbines instead of the original 15, which were not completely uniform.” This project, in the rural district of Stendal, also breaks new ground in the important area of recycling. Most of the decommissioned Enercon turbines are being sold as complete sets, including the steel towers, to be re-used on other wind farms. “And part of the material from the old foundations is being put to use at the same location as a base course for the new access roads,” Edler-Krupp adds.
“Replacing older wind turbines with new, much more efficient ones is part of our growth offensive for renewable energy. If the energy transition is to be accelerated and Germany is to be almost completely supplied with green electricity exclusively as early as 2035, we all have to play our part. RWE intends to invest up to 15 billion euros gross in its green core business by 2030 for climate protection and security of supply.”