Massive amount of blades in need of inspection propelling the wind turbine unmanned aerial vehicle market, report finds. A new report from Navigant Research examines the global market for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), commonly known as drones, for wind turbine blade inspection, including revenue forecasts by segment and region, through 2024.
To inspect the blades of the more than 270,000 wind turbines operating globally, technicians have traditionally relied on binoculars and field scopes from the ground, or have scaled the turbines with the help of ropes or cables. Today, UAVs are providing a safer option, with the benefit of higher-resolution imaging.
According to Navigant Research, cumulative global revenue for wind turbine UAV sales and inspection services is expected to reach nearly $6 billion by 2024.
“The use of drones for wind turbine blade inspection is proving to be more than a novelty,” says Jesse Broehl, senior research analyst with Navigant Research. “Current inspection techniques from the ground and by rope or platform access will not be replaced, however, they will increasingly be augmented by drone inspections, which bring certain advantages.”
The emerging wind turbine UAV market is driven by the massive number of blades that need to be inspected for normal deterioration and for pre-end-of-warranty inspections, according to the report. If uninspected, deterioration caused by the elements to the more than 800,000 blades in operation can result in reduced energy production and blade collapse, which could have catastrophic effects.
The report, Drones for Wind Turbine Inspection, analyzes the global market for UAVs for wind turbine blade inspection. The study provides an analysis of the market dynamics, industry structure, and technological features driving the market for UAV hardware and inspection services. Global market forecasts for revenue, broken out by segment (multi-rotor UAVs and UAV inspection services) and region, extend through 2024. The report also examines the key regional regulations related to UAVs, as well as the competitive landscape. An Executive Summary of the report is available for free download on the Navigant Research website.