DALLAS (March 6, 2018) — Leeward Renewable Energy, LLC today announced that work will soon commence to repower the company’s 15-year-old Mendota Hills Wind Farm (“Mendota”) in Lee County, Illinois. Leeward selected Siemens Gamesa to supply 29 of its SG 2.6-126 wind turbines, which will replace the existing 63 units of legacy Gamesa turbines. Total capacity will increase from roughly 50 MW to 76 MW.
Mendota has been in operation since 2003, making it Illinois’ first utility-scale wind farm. The full-scale repowering entails removing all existing wind turbine generators and replacing with new equipment to maximize the efficiency, performance and extend the lifespan of the wind farm. Upon completion, Mendota will operate with fewer turbines, but overall annual energy production is expected to increase three-fold from current facility output.
“Mendota Hills is Leeward’s oldest operating wind farm in our portfolio,” said Greg Wolf, Leeward Renewable Energy CEO. “This repowering elevates a premier site that will benefit our customers and Lee County. We are pleased to join forces with Siemens Gamesa on the first of what we hope to be many such initiatives.”
“Mendota Hills is Siemens Gamesa’s eighth project with Leeward, with joint projects spanning across four states and totalling over 400 MW, and is the company’s first full-scale repowering in the U.S.,” said José Antonio Miranda, Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy, CEO Onshore Americas. “We look forward to revitalizing an aging wind farm with the implementation of advanced technology and partnering with Leeward on future projects.”
The project commences in March of 2018 and is scheduled for completion in December of 2018. Siemens Gamesa will continue to provide operations and maintenance for the Mendota site.
The project is expected to generate 115 full time construction jobs during the repowering process. Additionally, it provides the opportunity for permanent local jobs as well as a subcontractor base to maintain the project. The repowered project is expected to double its contribution to Lee County in the first year in the form of property tax payments and triple its contribution throughout the lifespan of the repowered project.