Power Electronics for Wind Turbines

In 2011, almost 44 GW of wind energy has been installed in the world and half of it was in China. Each years’ results are greater than predictions, and it has been so for the last 10 years. But we envision a slow down in this growth, fully explained in this report: 22% annual growth is huge. Based on the history, we believe the market will stay between 15% and 20% growth until 2015. Compared to all other power electronics markets, this is still the biggest opportunity for this type of converters in power electronics.

There are other main trends at the macroscopic level:

European on-shore wind farm market is now close to maturity. EU countries are now starting to conquer and equip their off-shore potential.

Emerging wind energy th America and Asia) are starting to equip themselves to feed their grid with green energy.

Turbine architecture is changing, and converters with them. We aim at greater efficiency and reducing O&M (operating and maintenance) costs. Permanent magnets, no-gearbox and full converters seems to be the ideal combination, if material costs stay stable.

Converters are also more demanding, and thus more power electronics is required: converter market is at $4.5B today, and will top +$5.5B in 2017.

The next five years are still on high growth, thanks to the technology evolutions detailed in this report.

What conclusions to draw then? Now worries about wind turbine market’s future. Up to 2015, opportunities will be there, but facing more competition and technical challenges, it will be harder for new players to enter this market.

Integration and modularity” trend is redesigning the supply-chain

Converters manufacturing and supply-chain is in the middle of a major evolution: modularity and integration. Rather than supplying one passive components, we expect to see more and more companies to merge with partners, and provide a pre-assembled stack, where only the power module would be missing. You can then easily design and maintain a converter using and replacing these “bricks”. This type of assembly is more and more used in high power electronics. Companies such as Mersen, Methode electronics,… are positioning towards this new type of business model. This evolution is fully described in this report, highlighting the passive components, their importance in the converter, the future trends to come…

Chinese Players are now worldwide leaders!

China has protected its market: With the huge local growth, Chinese players are now leaders in wind turbine manufacturing and they are looking at expanding globally. In three years, the top-5 players ranking has been totally changed, and with the recent acquisitions (GE over Converteam) or affairs (AMSC against Sinovel), it will change again.

This report includes a focus on the Chinese wind power market, with local market and players split, as well as future wind farm market trends.