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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Publisher's Note September 2016

Focus on Storage, Smart Energy Solutions and Component Technology Advances

WindEnergy Hamburg will be held from 27 to 30 September. Once again it will be the global business platform for companies in the wind industry, with more than 1,200 exhibitors from over 30 nations presenting their latest products and services for onshore and offshore in a total of nine exhibition halls.

The event will feature national pavilions presenting the wind companies of the respective countries – a total of 18 pavilions are currently registered. The largest country presentation, filling a whole exhibition hall, is from Denmark, with 90 exhibitors. Other pavilions are from European countries such as Belgium, the Netherlands, the UK and Turkey. And the Basque Country makes its presentation in its own pavilion with companies from the offshore sector. The wind energy markets in North and South America will be present with joint pavilions from Argentina, the USA and Canada. Asia is there too, with a national pavilion from China.

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Publisher's Note July August 2016

Brexit and consolidation

On 23 June the UK population voted to leave the EU and although it is difficult to tell what the full consequences of this are it is clear that the renewables industry in the UK will be affected by it. In the short term not much will change, since running projects will be finished as planned. Also the negotiations of a Brexit will take at least two years and during this period the UK is still a EU member country.

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Publisher's Note June 2016

Offshore wind industry is confident of driving costs down by 2020

This year Global Offshore Wind will be organised in Manchester, UK, from 21 to 22 June. A big theme for the offshore wind business is to bring down the levelised cost of energy (LCOE) to be more competitive with other energy sources. And, according to a report from ORE Catapult (the second Cost Reduction Monitoring Framework), the industry is confident of driving costs below GBP 100/MWh by 2020 on the back of long-term market certainty. Offshore wind costs are falling fast, with 12 of 13 cost indicators on or ahead of target. The report shows that investment in turbine technology has delivered significant cost benefits, but that further reduction will need to come from the innovations in ‘balance of plant’, such as foundations, cables and substations. The report warns that investment in research and development and manufacturing industrialisation to deliver such improvements will only come with greater visibility of future rates of deployment and market size as government sets out details of contracts for new offshore wind farms.

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