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Q ENERGY repowers Souleilla-Corbières wind farm

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Energy Global,

Built by Q ENERGY in 1999 and commissioned in 2001, the Souleilla-Corbières wind farm is a landmark in the history of renewable energy in France. After 22 years of service, it has been undergoing repowering since the summer of 2022.

The Souleilla-Corbières site will see its total installed capacity increase by over 15% whilst maintaining the same number, position, and dimensions of wind turbines. Located in the exclusion zone of a French weather radar, the wind farm could not accommodate larger turbines. However, thanks to the installation of more recent technologies, the 16 new 80-m wind turbines will produce approximately 71 GWh annually, compared to 60 GWh/year for their predecessors. An increase in capacity that will provide more than 4750 additional people with clean, green energy.

Q ENERGY has chosen to apply the principles of circular economy by promoting the reuse, recycling, and upgrading of all components of the farm at the end of their life. 100% of the site's steel has been reprocessed and reused. Components of the wind turbines were sold as spare parts, pieces of the blades were given to a local artist or sold to create innovative furniture. All the concrete from the foundations was removed. One third will be reused in the foundations of the new turbines, while the rest has been used by a local construction company in the building of an industrial platform.

With nearly 150 MW authorised, more than 400 MW under development and five repowering partnerships signed, Q ENERGY has become one of the pioneers in the repowering of wind farms in France. Following this very first one, four new projects are already set to be launched between 2023 and 2024 for a total installed capacity of 56 MW. The repowering of the Souleilla-Corbières site is thus emblematic of Q ENERGY's new role as a technical leader in repowering. A know-how that will soon be used on a large scale.

"For Q ENERGY, the repowering of existing wind farms is a crucial part for the further expansion of renewable energies. The Souleilla-Corbières wind farm proves that this does not necessarily require larger turbines. New and more efficient technology can even generate a substantial energy increase if their size remains the same. Given the scarcity of land in France and some other European countries, repowering is an attractive option for communities, operators and investors alike,” said Jean-François Petit, General Manager at Q ENERGY France.



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