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Results of a Patent Landscaping Exercise

To understand the future technology trends in the wind turbine industry it is necessary to gain a historical perspective on the emergence of current trends. Analysis of patent protected innovations in the wind turbine industry can be a powerful indicator of these historical trends. While much anecdotal discussion has taken place on the wind industry patent landscape, a definitive look at that landscape has never been made publicly available, until now. The study methodology will be discussed and the results of the analysis will be shown in several charts. The results indicate that, historically, wind turbine innovation has been directed towards blades, generators and electrical systems because these three areas have been the most problematic for manufacturers when it comes to component reliability. Future technology is most likely to be directed towards improving controls and utilising advanced materials to address the emerging challenges and to eke out every last ounce of performance from the turbines.

By Philip Totaro, Principal, IntelStor, USA

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