London, UK In terms of new installations, wind power continues to eclipse all other forms of renewable energy and, in some regions, is the largest single new generation type to be commissioned in recent years.
According to the ‘World Market Update 2009; Forecast 2010-2014’, by BTM Consult ApS, a record 38 GW of new wind was installed worldwide in 2009. And the analysis forecasts strong growth for the industry in the next five years and beyond.
With the total installed global wind power capacity now at 160 GW, development in 2009 saw cumulative installations grow 31%. Coupled with a 35% rise in the rate of annual installations – although down on 2008’s 42% – the wind industry must surely be envied by many a business in these chilly economic times.
It is with that in mind that we present this Wind Technology supplement to Renewable Energy World magazine. With our exclusive look at the development of AMSC WindTech’s 10 MW superconducting generator, a report on patent and intellectual property law that offers a key to the US market, articles on potential main shaft bearing and generator configurations, and much more besides, we hope to respond to just some of the issues facing the sector, both today and tomorrow.
Expectations are certainly high for wind power in the years to come, and with good reason. Bare numbers perhaps belie the bare realities of the massive growth in China, and the continued strong investment in Europe and US in particular. BTM reports China alone installed 13,750 MW in 2009, more than doubling its cumulative wind power capacity in a single year.
REN21’s recent research: ‘Renewables 2010 Global Status Report’ also shows that wind continues to be the hands-down winner in terms of investment. According to their study, total investment in wind assets grew to $62.7 billion in 2009, up from $55.5 billion the year before.
The unequivocal entry of wind technology into the mainstream power generation portfolio is no doubt assured. But as a market, its very scale and the speed with which it is developing still presents significant opportunities for those with a competitive advantage. Ultimately, any advantage will rest with the technology that delivers the optimum output, flexibility, reliability and lifetime cost of ownership. Clearly, addressing those goals, from forecasting, through rotor, generator and onto the transmission grid – at the best price – is the challenge facing any successful company in this highly competitive and rapidly evolving industry.
As a multi-billion dollar global industry, wind power is rightly recognised as a renewable energy success story – and success is always exciting.
We hope this supplement contributes to that success.