RES to repower first French wind farm

FRANCE: RES will repower an entire project for the first time by upgrading the first wind farm it built in France.

RES Group's Souleilla-Corbières wind farm (above) in Aude, southern France was commissioned in 2001

Working alongside PomaLeitwind — a merger of cable and infrastructure specialist Poma and turbine manufacture Leitwind — RES will repower the 20.8MW Souleilla-Corbières wind farm in Aude, southern France.

It will replace the 16 Bonus 1.3MW turbines with 1.5MW turbines from PomaLeitwind, for a new capacity of 24MW.

Both the original Bonus turbines and the replacement PomaLeitwind units will have rotor diameters of 62 metres.

The developer added that it expected financing to be completed by the end of 2019 and construction to start at the end of 2020 and be completed in early 2021.

Souleilla-Corbières, commissioned in 2001, was RES’ first wind farm in France. It was once the largest project in the country.

RES' announcement comes after former French energy minister Nicolas Hulot issued guidelines to regional authorities in August to clarify the handling of applications for repowering onshore wind projects.

Trade bodies, the French wind energy association (FEE) and renewable energy association (SER), however, criticised the new rules, claiming they brought "no real simplification", and that developers may still choose to apply for all the previous authorisations because of "legal insecurity".