LEITWIND is set to replace the 16 existing 1.3 MW turbines at the Souleilla-Corbières wind farm in southern France with 1.5 MW LTW62 units. The customer is RES – Renewable Energy Systems Ltd, the UK-based renewable energy developer, which has decided to repower its first wind farm constructed in France, increasing capacity to 24 MW.
Repowering usually involves replacing old, obsolete wind turbines with new larger, more technologically advanced units. Repowering of wind turbines has, in fact, created a new market.
The procedure can involve two types of processes:
  • A design involving a new layout for the wind farm with new turbines and therefore new permits: this can, however, create problems in terms of the constraints on maximum rotor tip height, maximum diameter or hub height.
  • A re-authorization process: this approach involves the installation of new turbines with the same dimensional characteristics as the existing units. The problem in this case is that the turbines are often not available on the market or their performance is no longer adequate or does not meet the most recent requirements in terms of safety, performance, etc. 
In the light of these considerations, LEITWIND has agreed to develop a new customized wind turbine specifically for RES, the LTW62 1.5 MW.
The customer wanted to retain the existing permit, avoiding a new complex authorization process where the outcome was uncertain. However, there was no wind turbine on the market that met the existing requirements and that could guarantee adequate energy yield while ensuring sustainable performance over time at a site with very aggressive wind conditions.
The Souleilla-Corbières wind farm is located in a hilly region in the French département of Pyrénées-Orientales. The site is subject to very high winds, partially above the IEC standard: the mean annual value at a hub height of 49 m varies between 8 and 9.3 m/s, depending on the position of the unit. This meant that the design of the LTW62 wind turbine at the French site would need to be customized.
The base model for the repowering is the robust, well-proven 1.5 MW LTW80. This model is IEC-certified and is extremely well-suited as a starting point for customization in line with the specific conditions of the site and the constraints of the Souleilla-Corbières project.
Almost all of the principal structural components of the LTW62 will be the same as those used in the LTW80, including the hub, the stator, the rotor and the main frame connecting it to the tower. The pitch system will be the LeitPitch, developed by LEITWIND, which is now the standard on all LEITWIND wind turbines.
The innovations in the LTW62: blade and tower.
The new blade on the LTW62 will be 30 m long, to guarantee the rotor diameter required under the existing permits, and is called LS30. This type of blade is able to achieve its rated power of 1.5 MW even under turbulent wind conditions.
The tower will be designed specifically for the Souleilla-Corbières site, taking into account the worst possible wind conditions inside the wind farm, especially in terms of turbulence. The tower will be made of tubular/conical steel, divided into two segments.
The LTW62 model is designed for sites with strong winds and high turbulence, and will be certified both for the site specific conditions of Souleilla-Corbières and for IEC wind class IA-standard, thus making it a suitable and very attractive option for any site with high or extreme intensity winds.
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