Minnesota-based energy company Allete Clean Energy has received an order for refurbishment of 385 turbines across three wind farms in the US states of Minnesota and Iowa.

Details about the party that has awarded the contract were not disclosed by Allete. As part of the contract, Allete will be replacing select blades, gearboxes and generators on turbines at the Lake Benton wind site in Lincoln County, Minnesota, and the Storm Lake I and II wind sites in Buena Vista and Cherokee counties, Iowa.

These three wind farms generate a total of 700,000MWh of energy per year. This is almost half of Allete’s current electricity sales.

The refurbishment is expected to begin in the later part of this year and will continue through 2020 to minimise downtime and to maximise safe energy production across each of the sites.

Apart from turbine refurbishment, Allete will also install new communications infrastructure at the wind farms for improved integration into its corporate operations structure. Allete claims that installing new fiber optic connections, servers, and data acquisition and management systems can improve operational efficiency, while offering best performance.

The initiative follows Allete’s last year commitment to invest $100m in wind turbine components that meet the standards for production tax credit ‘safe harbor’ provision. Through the investment, the company says that it can pursue three-pronged production tax credit strategy before 2020 federal production tax credit phases out.

ALLETE Clean Energy president Allan S. Rudeck Jr. said: “As a central part of ALLETE Clean Energy’s multifaceted growth strategy, this $80 million reinvestment will contribute to future earnings growth.

“Revenue from our existing wind sites such as Lake Benton and Storm Lake is the foundation for ALLETE Clean Energy’s momentum and growth. Neighboring communities also benefit by keeping these older sites viable and valuable, which maintains jobs and landowner lease payments.”

Image: Allete Clean Energy to refurbish wind farms in US. Photo: Courtesy of simon gray/FreeImages.com.