BP Completes Tech Upgrade of Indiana Wind Farm
HOUSTON — Oil and gas giant BP recently fulfilled a major goal of its renewable energy division, completing what it calls a “major” technology upgrade at its Fowler Ridge 1 wind farm in northwest Indiana.
The upgrade included the installation of two new Vestas turbines expected to produce up to 40% more energy annually — potentially enough to power 27,000 homes.
According to BP the new technology will produce power more efficiently at lower wind speeds, creating more electricity from available wind resources.
“This project is a substantial upgrade for the wind farm and another investment in BP’s low-carbon energy future,” said Orlando Alvarez, chairman and president of BP America.
“It shows BP’s strategy in action — contributing to a more secure, affordable and lower carbon energy mix while pursuing our net zero ambition,” Alvarez said.
The project involved upgrading 40 turbines, including the installation of 120 individual blades and 40 new nacelles, which house power generation equipment and transformers atop the wind towers.
Alvarez said BP’s capital investment for the entire project was around $100 million.
“Repowering wind projects offers an optimal solution for aging fleets by increasing the annual energy production and expanding the lifespan of a project — a critical component of the clean energy transition,” said Ramit Bajaj, senior vice president of construction and operations for Vestas North America.
BP plans to recycle the decommissioned blades, keeping up to 3.3 million pounds of material from ending up in landfills.
The decommissioned blades are planned to be shredded and blended with raw materials to make cement products.
Though best known for its work in the fossil fuel sector, BP currently operates nine onshore wind farms in six states and owns an interest in a 10th wind asset in Hawaii.
Its current gross U.S. onshore wind capacity is about 1.7 GW per year.
Together, BP said in a press release, its wind farms generate enough renewable electricity to potentially power more than 540,000 homes a year.
In Indiana, the company operates three Fowler Ridge wind farms, which collectively have 355 turbines and generate enough power to support about 195,000 Indiana homes annually.
The Fowler Ridge 1 and 3 wind farms are 100% owned by BP.