A 19-year old wind farm on the Spanish island of Menorca will be dismantled and repowered as its costs of upkeep exceed any income from the sale of electricity, a local public company has said.
The 2.4-MW Mila wind farm started operations on February 28, 2004, with four turbines standing and an estimated useful life of 20 years. Menorca’s waste and energy management company CREM said on Thursday that it has decided to unplug the wind farm now and not wait for February 2024.
“Keeping the park open until 2024 would mean an expenditure of EUR 200,000 (USD 210.354) and a deficit of EUR 150,000,” CREM’s president Simon Gornes said.
Mila is the only wind power generation facility on the Mediterranean island and the Balearic archipelago. Since its commissioning, it injected 92.2 GWh of electricity into the grid and avoided the release of 84,678 tonnes of CO2 equivalent into the air, according to CREM’s figures.
Over the years, operations and maintenance (O&M) costs started to rise due to Mila’s obsolete machinery and frequent breakdowns of key components. The wind farm had four 800-kW MADE AE-59 turbines and 3.2 MW of installed capacity at the start of its life. The turbine number 4 was scrapped at the end of 2022 due to a structural failure, leading to a reduced electricity output.
CREM listed a number of technical troubles that contributed to Mila’s low production — technological dependence on a now defunct manufacturer, the O&M contractor’s difficulties with finding spare parts for the obsolete turbines, environmental factors such as salinity and humidity, and a lower tower height than the one dictated by the original design.
Suspending Mila’s operations now would incur costs of EUR 50,000 for the maintenance necessary to carry out the dismantlement of the wind farm’s towers. The repowering project will be put out to tender, Gornes said.
Around 10 GW to 12 GW of existing wind farms in Spain will have to be dismantled for repowering in this decade, the Spanish government estimates. In 2022, the ministry for the ecological transition launched several programmes to award state aid for wind farm repowering initiatives.
(EUR 1.0 = USD 1.052)