Renewable energy intelligence provider MAKE says competition is forcing turbine OEMs to intensify the pace of innovation and is driving fast growth in the size of turbines for use on land and at sea.
The company said auctions for wind energy and steeply falling costs are the main factors driving development of next-generation technology for 4-5 MW onshore turbines with 160-175 m plus rotor diameters and offshore wind turbines in the 12-15 MW plus range that have 200-250 m plus rotors.
“To improve competitiveness in auctions turbine OEMs have accelerated the pace at which they are introducing new, larger turbines,” said MAKE.
“OEMs will continue to exploit design margins, optimise investment in their supply chains and deliver lower levelised cost of electricity for asset owners,” said the industry analyst.
MAKE said the competitive landscape – primarily the transition in many markets to auction systems – is reducing the commercial lifecycles of turbines. “OEM business plans and capex must incorporate shorter platform/product lifecycle assumptions, with higher volumes offered in auctions offsetting those investments,” it said.
The company said offshore projects do not face the same logistics barriers as onshore projects, as the supply chain is usually closer to ports.
“In the last 12 months, developers have submitted zero-subsidy bids for offshore projects,” said MAKE. “The turbines procured by the winning developers will have an unprecedented size range of 12-15 MW or more.”