Technology Forecast for Wind Power to 2026
Authors: Eize de Vries, Sara Verbruggen
Published: September, 2016
Pages: 170 | Tables: 5 | Figures: 50

The most topical technology question facing the wind power industry today is: how much bigger will turbines become? Generally, bigger power ratings tend to be accompanied by larger rotors but configuration choices also depend upon wind class, which in turn calls for stronger gears and bearings, reinforced structural designs, larger foundations and so on.

 Summary

The most topical technology question facing the wind power industry today is: how much bigger will turbines become? Generally, bigger power ratings tend to be accompanied by larger rotors but configuration choices also dependent upon wind class, which in turn calls for stronger gears and bearings, reinforced structural designs, larger foundations and so on.

This report addresses these questions and more; going through the technological challenges facing the industry and gives an insightful perspective into the most likely ways forward.

Since the last version of this report was issued about a year ago, the two major developments in the sector have been the significant growth in offshore wind, plus an unexpectedly fast drop in generating costs, and the rapid development of low-wind turbines onshore. Both areas have presented new technological challenges and opened up avenues for further industrial development. An emerging trend is the development and introduction of next generation, large onshore turbines in the range 3.6–5MW, with matching rotor diameters for different wind classes. These issues are explored in some detail in the following chapters.

Methodology

This report presents an overview and analysis of research and development trends over the next ten years for wind power technology. This is derived, in part, via an analysis of industry stakeholder market forecast reports and statements, but also via an analysis of project plans and strategies by our own industry experts, including the authors of this report. The Windpower Intelligence database has been used to assess trends and forecasts relating to:

  • annual installed capacity per geographical region
  • turbine size for offshore models
  • drive systems and generator types
  • offshore projects by water depth and distance from shore
  • offshore projects by foundation type.
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