Energy Transition Handbook 2021 - Flipbook - Page 22
Onshore wind-generated electricity remains the largest non-hydro renewable
technology and generates more than all the others combined (almost 600,000 MW in
2019). China and the US remain the world’s largest onshore wind markets, together
accounting for more than 60% of new capacity in 2019. Onshore wind is now a mature
segment, recognised as a reliable and competitive source of energy. Technical progress
is driving the development of increasingly efficient equipment and lowering production
costs - the cost of onshore wind turbines has, for example, been cut by over 40%
Onshore technology has evolved over the last
five years to maximise electricity produced per
megawatt capacity installed to unlock more
sites with lower wind speeds. Wind turbines
have become bigger with taller hub heights and
larger rotor diameters. The wind tower height
has increased over the past few years as the
wind blows more steadily at higher altitudes.
In inland areas where wind turbulence is high,
a greater hub height can lead to better wind yield
as wind turbulence decline at higher altitudes.
The rise in the height of wind towers reduces
the total number of turbines required on a wind
farm as they produce more power from a single
turbine. Taller turbines have better energy
conversion rates, which can increase the annual
energy production of such wind energy projects.
Also, the increase in the size of rotors and
blades has led to significant growth in the power
generating capacity of wind turbines.
Innovations in turbine technology such as higher
capacity onshore turbines, modular turbines,
3D printing, and additive manufacturing are
bringing down the overall cost of onshore wind
power. Leveraging technological advancements
in data analytics and the ‘Internet of Things’
is enabling the development of smart wind
turbines with increased connectivity, operation
optimization, and predictive capabilities.
Another trend shaping the market is the continued
decrease in the levelised cost of electricity of
onshore wind in all regional markets, making
wind power increasingly more competitive with
conventional fuel sources.
China holds the largest share in the global onshore
wind turbine market. Europe, North America,
and India are other leading regional markets.
Ambitious clean energy targets are driving the
rapid expansion of the onshore wind power
market in India. Mature markets in the UK,
Germany, and the US are expected to generate
demand as a result of increasing repowering or
updating activities for aging wind power farms
in the regions. Emerging markets in the onshore
wind space include Brazil, Mexico, Australia,
and South Africa.
Onshore wind carries with it similar challenges
as have been set out for offshore wind with
respect to variability and uneven distribution.
Planning issues can be even more acute for
onshore wind with a greater likelihood of
objections coming from the local community
due to impacts on local landscapes.