Vestas has been engaged to supply maintenance services to the 126MW first stage of the Lincoln Gap wind farm, as turbine supplier Senvion continues to work through financial difficulties.
As reported by RenewEconomy last year, the developers of the Lincoln Gap wind farm, Nexif Energy, were forced to intervene to secure the completion of the project after Senvion’s European parent commenced insolvency proceedings.
While the completion of the project using Senvion turbines was secured, there was uncertainty over the long-term maintenance of the project, as Senvion was originally contracted to provide those services.
Danish wind turbine manufacturer Vestas has secured the maintenance contract for the project and now sees the company stepping in to service more than 230MW of Senvion turbines in Australia. Around 900MW of Senvion turbines have been installed or are under construction in Australia.
Under the deal, Vestas will fulfil an Active Output Management 5000 (AOM 5000) contract and will work to optimise the output from the wind farm. The contract will also include scheduled maintenance for the wind farm’s substation, high voltage equipment and service roads.
“Multibrand service deals like Lincoln Gap demonstrate how Vestas can leverage our market experience, broad service solutions capability and extensive supply chain to provide value for our customers throughout the wind farm lifecycle – whether that is for service on Vestas turbines or third party machines,” president of Vestas Asia Pacific Clive Turton said.
“We are proud that customers all throughout our region can turn to Vestas’ broad range of industry-leading and cost-efficient service solutions.”
They are the same troubles that hit the 226MW first stage of the Murra Warra wind farm, which had also contracted to use 61 wind turbines manufactured by Senvion. The company’s collapse left project partner Downer EDI liable to complete the project on its own, leading to the construction giant to book a $45 million impairment to the project’s profits.
Following additional troubles at some of the company’s solar farm projects, Downer EDI sensationally announced that it would exit the Australian large-scale solar market altogether last month, saying the project risks were too high.
The experience has been somewhat less disheartening for Nexif Energy, which despite having to manage the Senvion woes, is looking to progress with the second stage of the Lincoln Gap project with Vestas as its new partner.
The completion of the second stage is expected to take the total generation capacity of the Lincoln Gap wind farm to 212MW.
“Nexif Energy is pleased to appoint Vestas as its long-term maintenance services provider for the stage one Senvion turbines at our Lincoln Gap Wind Farm,” founder and Co-CEO of Nexif Energy Matthew Bartley said.
“Following Senvion’s insolvency, Nexif Energy stepped in to oversee completion of construction, and with stage one now operating, and maintenance and performance in the hands of a leading industry services provider – Vestas, Nexif Energy is well positioned to complete stage two and move forward with implementation of our expansion plans.”
The first stage of the Lincoln Gap wind farm, located near Port Augusta in South Australia, is expected to deliver more than 800,000MWh of power annually.
Vestas has a strong presence within the Australian market and has established a turbine assembly and testing facility in Victoria, at the site of a former Ford Motor factory.
The European service division of Senvion, which was headquartered in Germany and which holds a significant number of maintenance contracts across the continent, was recently acquired by Siemens Gamesa. However, there appears to have been little interest in the company’s wind turbine manufacturing business.