Based on your browser language, we recommend the following version of this page:

Basierend auf Ihrer Browsersprache empfehlen wir die folgende Version dieser Seite:

Based on your browser language, we recommend the following version of this page:

W oparciu o język przeglądarki zalecamy następującą wersję tej strony:

Based on your browser language, we recommend the following version of this page:

Based on your browser language, we recommend the following version of this page:

Baserat på ditt webbläsarspråk rekommenderar vi följande version av denna sida:

En fonction de la langue réglée dans votre navigateur, nous vous recommandons la version suivante de cette page :


Lifetime extension with full maintenance contract

Lifetime extension with full maintenance contract

A win-win situation for both parties

What happens to old turbines that are to continue operating after the normal service life of 20 years? Thanks to improved market prices, operators are increasingly considering service contract forms that allow them to continue operating old turbines for longer than the planned service life, which would have been unthinkable in the past. One example is Steffen Schwagerus, Managing Director of several operating companies (Bürgerwindparks), which are managed by Windwärts Energie GmbH in Hanover.

The wind turbine in Wedemark has been running for more than 20 years. At the Hasede wind farm, this milestone will be reached at the end of 2022, and at the Schliekum wind farm it will be reached at the end of 2024. What does one do with turbines of the 1.5 and 2 MW classes, which were originally designed for a service life of 20 years? An expert opinion on lifetime extension showed a good starting position for the turbines to continue operating, and this was the basis for negotiations between Steffen Schwagerus and Lars Schwitters, Head of Customer Management and Technical Operations Management at Deutsche Windtechnik X-Service.

Contract negotiations covered all scenarios

"The contract negotiations took a long time because many scenarios were played through, and opportunities and risks were weighed against each other," Schwitters said. The expert opinion on lifetime extension predicted that some components, such as rotor blade bolts, would have a shorter service life than the contract term, so a separate contractual agreement needed to be reached on these. The feed-in remuneration, which is no longer a fixed amount defined in the EEG but instead is based on the market price, requires new terms. For example, the amount of remuneration received affects the calculation of compensation in connection with availabilities. In addition, it is necessary to define what happens if the PPA price falls below a certain threshold.

In the event of repowering, the contract contains provisions that allow early termination. Agreements have been made, for example, that include a compensation payment in the amount of the fair value in the case of a major component replacement, if a special right of termination is exercised. For Steffen Schwagerus, this means a high degree of flexibility. For Deutsche Windtechnik, it means risk management that makes full maintenance contracts feasible up to the 30th year of operation. "Lifetime extension under full maintenance over the next 10 years finally emerged as an economically viable solution for both partners," Lars Schwitters said.

The long and trusting relationship between the two partners facilitated negotiations as well as the resulting cooperation. "If a scenario occurs that is not covered by the contract, we know that we will find a solution that is acceptable for both parties. Our cooperation in recent years has proven this,“ Steffen Schwagerus said regarding the good relationship with Deutsche Windtechnik.

The three wind farms have been under a full maintenance contract with Deutsche Windtechnik since 2017 and are operating very reliably. "We know the wind farms and the installed components well, so the 10-year lifetime extension was a good planning horizon for us: Depreciation was set at 30 years, availability was reduced and scenarios such as repowering after five years were also included," Schwitters explained.

Maximum planning security

Dismantling the park was out of the question. The turbines are operational and in top condition. "If you are active in renewable energies, you also have to do everything you can to ensure that turbines operate for as long as possible," Schwagerus said. Although the full maintenance contract is significantly more expensive than a basic contract, the client has the security that the turbines will continue to operate during the 10-year period. On the other hand, if a large component fails under a basic contract, it could become economically unviable to continue to operate the turbine. By comparison: If the cost of full maintenance was approximately 20% of sales during the first 20 years of operation, it can now be up to 35%. This is significantly higher, but it still pays off in the long run: "We are signing PPAs at today's market prices, so this type of contract model is actually possible and a real alternative to selling or even decommissioning the turbines," Schwagerus said.

The facts at a glance

Start of the cooperation: 2017

Service: Full maintenance contract incl. large components

Plant types: Nordex N90, Nordex S77

Total output: 17.4 MW

Your contact person - we look forward to hearing from you!

Geert Timmers
Managing Director Deutsche Windtechnik B.V.

Scroll to top