Exus wins repowering contract for 240 MW Big Sky Wind Farm in Illinois

Exus Management Partners (Exus) has been selected to lead on the repowering of Illinois’ Big Sky Wind Farm by Vitol following Vitol’s acquisition of the project from a BlackRock-managed fund earlier this year. Exus will play a central role in Vitol’s plan to invest more than $250 million to upgrade the project.
Exus wins repowering contract for 240 MW Big Sky Wind Farm in Illinois
Manoeuvring a gearbox into a wind turbine. Courtesy of NREL.

The repowering expected to increase Big Sky’s annual energy output by 60 percent by year-end 2022. The scheme will entail the installation of highly efficient Vestas wind turbines using the existing foundations and towers. The company will provide asset management services for the project and handle the permitting for its repowering, enabling Vitol to optimise returns and continue enhancing its participation in the green energy transition.

As well as offsetting over 620,000 tons of CO2 emissions each year, Exus’ involvement will incorporate a variety of environmental and community activities, including support for regional wetland and prairie reserves, and sponsorship of local cultural events.

Wind farms typically have a lifespan of around 20 years, but individual turbines can begin to lose productivity due to wear and tear within a decade of their construction. With approximately 40 GW of US wind capacity now over 10 years old, including Big Sky Wind Farm, it is becoming increasingly cost-effective for owners of older wind farms to replace turbines with new, more advanced models.

“Repowering is a rapidly growing trend in US wind” said Mike Speerschneider, Development Partner at Exus. “Increasing numbers of projects are approaching a decade or more in their life cycle, experiencing associated losses in efficiency. Larger and more efficient turbine technologies are helping projects generate electricity at a level that makes the investment worthwhile and supports the energy transition. Exus is proud to be working alongside Vitol at the forefront of US wind repowering.”

R. Andrew de Pass, Head of Renewables at Vitol Inc., added that Big Sky is well placed to deliver clean energy to Vitol’s commercial and industrial customers, as well as the highly liquid PJM power market, and is the latest example of the company’s ongoing commitment as one of the market leaders in the shift towards renewable energy.

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