Publisher's Note July/August 2017

Wind energy is becoming mainstream

Currently the wind energy business is in a good state. European wind power investments in 2016 rose € 43 billion from € 35 billion in 2015, an increase of 22%. Also the global energy system is creating more jobs in renewables than in fossil-fuel technologies. More than 9.8 million people were employed in the renewable energy sector in 2016, according to a new report from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). China, Brazil, the USA, India, Japan and Germany accounted for most of the renewable energy jobs. New wind installations contributed to a 7% increase in global wind employment, raising it up to 1.2 million jobs. As the scales continue to tip in favour of renewables, IRENA expects that the number of people working in the renewables sector could reach 24 million by 2030, more than offsetting fossil-fuel job losses and leading to renewables becoming a major economic driver around the world.

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Publisher's Note June 2017

New developments in wind technology

Offshore wind energy continues to grow more indispensable to Europe’s energy mix. According to WindEurope’s Financing and Investment Trends 2016 report, new asset financing for offshore wind power projects reached a record-breaking € 18.2 billion in offshore wind in 2016. This year, WindEurope and RenewableUK are joining forces to host Offshore Wind Energy 2017, the largest offshore wind conference and exhibition in the world. From 6 to 8 June participants at Offshore Wind Energy 2017 will have the opportunity to participate in an exhibition by over 400 exhibitors. The conference will focus on innovation and forward-thinking as the industry continues to develop itself as a more mainstream energy source.

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Publisher's Note April May 2017

Can Trump stop the transition to renewable energy?

Just before this issue went to the printer, President Trump signed an executive order instructing the US Environmental Protection Agency to withdraw Obama’s Clean Power Plan (CPP). The CPP is the plan from former president Obama to reduce carbon pollution from power plants. The plan directed states to find ways to reduce emissions from electricity plants by 32% from 2005 levels by 2030. The plan was not to completely ban fossil fuels but to make sure that fossil fuel-fired power plants will operate more cleanly and efficiently, while expanding the capacity for zero- and low-emitting power sources like renewables. A benefit of the plan was also that the transition to clean energy would happen faster than anticipated. But can Trump stop the transition?

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Publisher's Note March 2017

Is vertical integration of blade technology the new trend?

Wind energy OEMs are constantly working to lower the cost of energy by innovation. One reason for this is to reach grid parity compared to other (non-renewable) energy sources. But another important reason is to be competitive and stay ahead of other OEMs.

So far we have seen mergers and takeovers of OEMs to benefit from the economies of scale and diversified geographical market shares. A good example of these are the Nordex/Acciona and Siemens/Gamesa deals.

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Publisher's Note January February 2017

Focus on technology development to continue reducing cost of energy

Just recently MAKE released its global wind turbine trends report 2016. According to this report the wind energy market will continue to mature as onshore turbines follow evolutionary technology developments, while revolutionary technology developments will be the focus for new offshore turbines. Turbines continue to grow larger, and become more productive, cost-effective and reliable due to technology developments. The coming decade will bring further change, but the role of technology has shifted as the industry continues to evolve and work towards levelised cost of energy (LCOE) grid parity. Differences in regional demand preferences are forcing many turbine OEMs to pursue platform-based wind turbine solutions that enable mass customisation to meet local needs, while providing scale to serve the global market. Wind energy is nearing the critical point of grid parity in many markets, where LCOE is competitive with traditional forms of thermal power generation. In this issue we present an example of a platform-based wind turbine solution. NGC StanGear is a serialised product platform based on an application database, standardisation and a modularisation concept for wind gearboxes. You can read more about the concept here.

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Publisher's Note November December 2016

Extending the lifetime of wind turbines

On average the lifetime of a wind turbine is a minimum of 20 years but nowadays owners, developers and manufacturers are trying to extend the lifetime of turbines to lower the levelised cost of energy (LCOE). For instance, this is done by retrofitting older turbines with a modern control system that provides the turbine owner with improvements in relation to remote monitoring, control and root cause analysis. There are already standardised solutions available on the market for specific turbine models and the OEMs are also offering solutions to extend the lifetime of their turbine models.

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Publisher's Note October 2016

Worldwide wind market continues to grow

The market for wind energy continues to grow, and in the last six months an increasing number of turbine deals have been announced compared to the second half of 2015. During the first six months of 2016, global wind turbine orders from 11 vendors in 29 countries totalled nearly 13.5GW, with Vestas overtaking Siemens as the top vendor. According to a new report from Navigant Research, Vestas led all vendors in turbine orders received in the first half of 2016 with 3.5GW of awarded capacity. Vestas has signed deals in at least 16 different countries. Siemens, Gamesa, General Electric and Suzlon rounded out the top five vendors, with Suzlon more than tripling its capacity awarded in the first half of 2016 compared to the second half of 2015. In terms of turbine capacity awarded to regions, Europe retained its leading position in the first half of 2016, gaining 6GW from a handful of large offshore orders and a massive Norwegian project awarded to Vestas. North America and Asia Pacific continued to trail Europe, while Latin America saw a decline in capacity and the Middle East & Africa, taking fifth place, saw an increase.

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