Wind turbines have come a long way since their initial trials in the 1980s and 1990s. Turbines are becoming more cost-effective, reliable, and capable of producing significantly more power – today’s turbines are much more prominent, with power generation capacities ranging from 1MW to 12MW.
As the technology matures, advancements that will increase the lifespan of wind projects while decreasing operational costs are on the horizon.
The following are some of the most critical areas of innovation:
- Longer and lighter rotor blades – some as long as 95 meters – with curved tips designed to take advantage of all wind speeds.
- Taller towers and blades can withstand high-altitude wind stresses.
- Performance-enhancing control systems.
- Digitization of gearboxes results in more dependable gearboxes.
Digitalization is the future of wind turbine technology
Currently, turbines are not very digital. However, as technology advances in general, there are lessons that the wind industry can learn and apply to its operations. Because of the recent bandwidth upgrade from 4G to 5G, offshore wind turbines, for example, can now communicate with geographically distant asset owners much faster.
Furthermore, as ‘the cloud’ becomes a more secure location to store more significant amounts of critical data, the enterprise can leverage this to allow turbines to retain more analytics than previously; more data means more insight into the turbine’s health. However, this necessitates more administration – in-depth analysis is useless if no one can interpret it. This will result in more job opportunities and diversification opportunities for analysts. This is yet another method for data analysis.
Drones are another technological advancement that the wind industry is utilizing. Drones can take photos remotely and autonomously without the need for a pilot. The images can then be stitched together using cloud computing before being sent to an AI system programmed to detect any problems with the blade, such as cracks. Because of the highly digitized process, maintenance issues can be identified early on, allowing technicians to be dispatched before the problem becomes severe enough to warrant the turbine being shut down.
Digitalization is not limited to wind turbine technology; it is permeating the entire industry, with concepts such as intelligent smart grids emerging.
NES and Wind Power
NES Global Talent has over 20 years of experience assisting the Renewable Energy industry and resolving staffing issues for clients worldwide. Our dedicated team is aware of the problems confronting the industry. It can tap into our extensive global network to find you the talent you require, so contact our experts right away if you have an offshore or onshore wind staffing requirement.
We are already working on some of the most exciting renewables and wind projects globally, so we are well-positioned to find suitable placements for the qualified nominee. From solar power to wind farms, we have a plethora of renewable energy job opportunities for skilled engineers looking to advance or begin their careers in the wind industry.
Technology is evolving at such a fast rate, and wind test systems have not been left behind. Firms are trying to find improved methods to make the systems more durable and efficient.