Aurich, 13 December 2022

The last E-32 update (probably)

An old E-32 continues to produce green energy 29 years later with a nacelle from ENERCON’s Update department. 

The departure of the E-32 nacelle from the logistics area of the Mechatronics centre of excellence in Aurich (Germany) is a moving moment for Ingo Kleen, Head of Mechanics at ENERCON’s Update department, and his team. They spent about four weeks working on the update of one of ENERCON’s first nacelle models. ‘This was probably the last E-32 nacelle that we’ll ever fix up again’, says Kleen. ‘A special project that called for old engineering know-how and a bit of tinkering and creativity.’

The vintage component doesn’t have far to travel: its destination is only 45 kilometres away in a field near Manslagt by the German North Sea coast. The installation team is already waiting at the site. They will replace the old nacelle on the 32-metre tower with the refurbished component. Horenburg Wind GbR bought the machine with a nominal power of 300 kW from ENERCON in 1993. The purchase agreement was signed by company founder Aloys Wobben himself. 

‘My husband became interested early on in the idea of having our own wind turbine that would supplement our farming business’, says Ihna Deterts, member of the owner association. ‘Back then, it was still possible to install individual wind turbines.’ The energy produced by the E-32 machine is fed into the public power grid. ‘During the entire service life of the wind turbine, our experience with ENERCON has been nothing but good. Service has been prompt and the machine has always run without a hitch. We hope that our E-32 will remain with us for another five to ten years, or perhaps even longer.’

‘A fantastic project in which the entire team was highly motivated. I’m glad that we were able to get this E-32 machine shipshape for the coming years so that the site can continue to produce eco-friendly wind energy. Unfortunately, the permitting laws do not allow a repowering project with a different system type’, says Bernhard Folkerts from ENERCON Global Sales Management. ‘At a very good wind site, an E-32 machine produces up to one million kilowatt-hours per year and can thus provide power to up to 300 homes annually.’

A total of 185 E-32 systems were installed between 1988 and 1993 – in Germany, the Netherlands and on the Canary Islands. They were mostly single-turbine installations. This WEC model belongs to the last ENERCON turbine generation with gearing. The machine house is 10 metres long and weights 22 metric tons; it includes a drive train, a synchronous generator and the hub. The successor model, the E-40, was the first to use a low-maintenance gearless concept – still the hallmark of ENERCON’s wind energy converter design today.

Currently, there are still about 25 E-32 machines in the field; however, there will be no more updates. ‘The demand is simply not great enough, and then there is the issue of sourcing the replacement parts’, says Kleen. The Update team is getting ready for other tasks, though. ‘We have a lot of projects in the pipeline. From the E-40 to our current generation of wind energy converters, we will continue to restore machine components to tip-top condition.’

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