What will the wind power industry of the future look like?
Around the world, we are seeing increasing amounts of legislation encouraging renewable energy use globally, such as wind and solar power.
The European Union, for example, set its target for renewable energy usage at 32% by 20301. In China regulators have set a target to achieve 25% of energy from non-fossil fuel sources by 20302. And the Canadian government announced a commitment to generate 90% of the country’s electricity from non-emitting sources by 20303.
As the demand for cleaner energy solutions increases and legislature follows suit, the advantages of wind energy are coming to the fore, setting it up to play a key role in the energy mix.
To ensure the energy source remains as competitive as possible, the wind energy industry has increased investment in new sites, new technologies and new ways of working. At Shell, we’ve committed to investing USD$2-3 billion per annum in Renewables and Energy Solutions, as part of our target to be a net-zero emissions energy business by 2050.4
All the signs are that wind is taking off in a big way. This has given way to a plethora of new innovations designed to create more efficient, more powerful operations.
5 wind power innovations set to change the industry
World’s most powerful wind turbine
Developed by GE Renewable Energy, the Haliade-X wind turbine is the world’s most powerful offshore wind turbine5. Standing at 260 metres tall, with 107-metre long blades, it features a 60-64% capacity factor above industry standard. One Haliade-X 14 MW turbine can generate up to 74 GWh of gross annual energy production, saving up to 52,000 metric tons of CO2, which is the equivalent of the emissions generated by 11,000 vehicles6 in one year.
Subsidy-free wind farms are gaining traction
A 2020 study of all European offshore wind installations since 2006 concluded that recent cost reductions may soon mean that newer offshore wind installations will generate electricity at prices that mean government subsidies are no longer required.7
Stanford develops water-based battery
Researchers from Stanford created a water-based battery that, when scaled, will store more power more efficiently than current technologies. And it’s being specifically designed for use in the wind and solar power sectors.
Floating wind power
Floating offshore wind technology has made great advances in recent years. The Hywind project in Scotland, located 24km offshore with turbines floating on buoyant concrete-and-steel keels, generates enough electricity for more than 20,000 homes. Other floating wind projects are being built in Europe and Japan.
Designed to perform in extremely low temperatures and high winds, these Icelandic turbines have also been developed with aesthetics in mind, reducing the visual impact of turbines and with almost silent running to reduce noise and impact on wildlife.
New innovations, new equipment, new maintenance needs
The bigger turbines, bigger blades, and more remote locations that we see being used in the examples above all pose challenges to turbine maintenance. Proactive and effective maintenance is now more important than ever to protect high-value equipment.
Shell Lubricant Solutions experts and engineers work onsite and in the lab, collaborating with wind turbine technicians and OEMs throughout the world, to develop industry-leading wind turbine lubricants that meet the turbine maintenance requirements of tomorrow.
Specifically designed for use on wind turbine bearings, gearboxes, and other moving parts, our products are designed to work in challenging environments, with temperatures ranging from -30 - +50C.
As wind farms and wind turbines get bigger, more powerful and more sophisticated, Shell Lubricant Solutions can help reduce unplanned equipment downtime, cutting avoidable costs and increasing wind turbine power output, no matter where your wind farm is or what environment it operates in.
6 According to wind conditions on a typical German North Sea site
Discover our product range
The main gearbox is central to a wind turbine’s performance. Discover how Shell gear oils can protect the main gearbox in addition to yaw and pitch gearboxes.
From brake controls to rotation settings, hydraulic systems help regulate a wind turbine’s movement. Shell Tellus can help improve your hydraulic system efficiency.
Today’s wind turbines are increasingly located in environmentally sensitive locations. Find an environmentally acceptable lubricant that can meet your needs.
When it comes to optimising wind power operations, prioritise an effective maintenance strategy.
Boost your wind turbine performance with maintenance solutions designed to protect and developed to perform.
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