By: Tracy Watson
Wind energy has grown exponentially over the past decade,increasing by 29.7% (on average) per year, in line with the 2008 projection by the U.S. Department of Energy that the U.S. could derive 20% of its energy from wind power by 2030. In the following white paper, we discuss current challenges in the wind industry, the solutions a robust maintenance management program or CMMS software solution can provide, and future developments in the sphere, as the wind industry continues to move towards a larger share of the total energy marketplace.
The Current State of the Wind Industry
At present, there are over fifty wind generation manufacturers (also known as original equipment manufacturers or OEMs) around the globe. In the U.S. over 470 manufacturing facilities produce components for wind turbines. Wind turbine maintenance and service providers consist of: OEMs, end- user wind farmer owners, and independent service providers (or ISPs). Wind OEMs continue to dominate operations and maintenance (O&M) of wind installations, but that has been steadily changing as ISPs and utilities have begun to encroach into the sphere, according to Windpower Monthly.
The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA)i sees the U.S. wind industry as a large market for wind power capacity installations and a growing market for American manufacturing. Over the past five years, the U.S. wind industry has added over 35% of all new generating capacity, second only to natural gas, and more than nuclear and coal combined. Further confirmation of the industry’s growth was evident in the installation of approximately 50,000 megawatts (MW) of wind power capacity, at the close of 2012, and the 8,300 MW of wind power under construction at the outset of 2013.ii Currently, U.S. wind power capacity alone represents more than 20% of the world’s installed wind power.