$70M Contract for Wind Farm Repairs

$70M Contract for Wind Farm Repairs

Infrastructure and Energy Alternatives, Inc. (IEA), an infrastructure construction company with renewable energy and specialty civil expertise, announced it has been awarded the Big Sky Repower balance of plant (“BOP”) project valued at approximately $70 million.

Vitol, an energy company awarded the project to White Construction, a subsidiary of IEA that manages utility-scale renewable energy and heavy civil infrastructure projects.

The award is for the repowering of a 240 megawatt (MW) utility-scale wind farm in the Bureau and Lee Counties of Illinois. Work on repowering the Big Sky Wind Farm will begin in August 2021 and is expected to be completed in July 2022. IEA will self-perform all of the engineering, procurement and construction needs of the project, including full decommissioning and foundation removal of five wind turbine generators (WTG) and the repowering of 109 WTGs, including the replacement of nacelles, hubs, blades and adaptor rings. By the end of the construction, it is expected that the project will increase the wind farm’s annual output by approximately 60 percent.

Roughly 40 gigawatts (GW) of U.S. wind power capacity, including that of the Big Sky Wind Farm, are over a decade old. With wind farm lifespans of typically 20 years, the U.S. repowering market continues to grow. Wood Mackenzie reports that the United States ranks fourth amongst the top 20 wind repowering markets by capacity, with 6.1 GW of wind power expected to be repowered between 2026 and 2030. The National Renewable Energy Lab estimates that the market for repowering will reach $25 billion by 2030.

“White Construction originally built the Big Sky Wind Farm in 2010, and we are very excited to partner with Vitol to repower this project,” said JP Roehm, IEA’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “As the wind energy industry matures and turbine technology improves, we anticipate repowering projects will become more common—it’s a great way to increase clean energy production without having to construct a new farm from scratch.”

Wind turbine repowering includes the dismantling and replacement of turbine equipment. In certain instances, not all of the equipment needs to be replaced and existing towers are leveraged as will be the case with Big Sky. Illinois, where the project is based, is one of the United States’ key wind generators with wind farms dating back nearly two decades. Since the opening of its first wind farm in 2003, Illinois now powers over 6,500 MW of wind and solar combined, ranking it sixth in the country for total renewable generation and storage according to the most recent data available from the American Clean Power Association.

To date, IEA has constructed more than 20 GW of renewable energy projects across North America. The company was ranked second for wind construction amongst Engineering News-Record’s 2020 Top 400 Contractors. For more information on IEA’s ENR rankings please visit enr.com.

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