Larger wind turbines present challenges and opportunities

Technological innovation is leading to larger, more efficient wind turbines, driving down the cost of wind power while presenting new challenges in the areas of installation, transportation and operation.
Larger wind turbines present challenges and opportunities

Competition in the global market will continue to be fierce, forcing original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to continually innovate and create bigger and better wind turbines to stand out from the crowd. Between 1999 and 2015, average rotor diameters rose by 113 percent to 335 feet, translating into a 355 percent growth in rotor swept area, according to an article in New Energy Update.

There are challenges on the technical front to creating and installing monumentally tall towers and longer blades.

The biggest technical hurdle for the offshore wind farms involves increasing the length of the turbine blades without putting too much strain on the structure which is built on a platform fastened to the seabed.

Increased rotor diameter and hub heights raise transportation and logistics costs. Wind turbine blades longer than 174 feet present a transportation obstacle due to the large turning radius required to navigate corners or curves on roads and railways, the Department of Energy said in a 2015 report.

The article in New Energy Update also pointed out another key challenge for developers is procuring the large cranes required to lift the nacelle onto the tower. There are a limited number of the largest cranes, especially in regions with little wind energy development, or areas with high demand from other construction sectors.

"The availability, scheduling, and logistics of the larger crane classes required to lift progressively larger wind turbine nacelles onto taller towers is increasingly challenging," the DoE said in its report.

However, future innovations in the transportation, installation and operations of larger wind turbines will create new revenue streams for developers and could also boost the US manufacturing industry.

For additional information:

New Energy Update

Add a comment
Baterías con premio en la gran feria europea del almacenamiento de energía
El jurado de la feria ees (la gran feria europea de las baterías y los sistemas acumuladores de energía) ya ha seleccionado los productos y soluciones innovadoras que aspiran, como finalistas, al gran premio ees 2021. Independientemente de cuál o cuáles sean las candidaturas ganadoras, la sola inclusión en este exquisito grupo VIP constituye todo un éxito para las empresas. A continuación, los diez finalistas 2021 de los ees Award (ees es una de las cuatro ferias que integran el gran evento anual europeo del sector de la energía, The smarter E).