We are seeing increasing amounts of legislation encouraging renewable energy use globally, such as wind and solar power.
In June 2018 for example, the European Union increased its renewables target to 32% by 20301, and in China regulators have set a renewable energy target of 15% by 20202. The Canadian government has also recently said that all federal institutions will be powered 100% by renewable electricity no later than 20253.
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$1-2 billion per annum in New Energies including wind power, biofuels and electric4. We’ve also committed to reducing our net carbon footprint by 20% between now and 20355.
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
1. World’s most powerful wind turbine: In February this year, GE Renewables announced plans to develop the Haliade-X, a 12MW turbine that will cost USD$400 million and take five years to develop. It is set to produce 45% more energy than any other offshore turbine available today.
2. UK builds its first subsidy-free wind farm: the Withernwick II extension project is the first subsidy-free wind farm in the UK. This is one of several subsidy-free projects in Europe, with analysts reporting that the industry is on the cusp of a cost efficiency breakthrough.
3. Stanford develops water-based battery: researchers have 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.
4. Floating wind power: Aerodyn Engineering won innovation of the year in Wind Power Monthly’s annual awards. The integrated twin-rotor concept is the company’s radical vision of next generation large-scale floating wind power plants.
5. IceWind Turbines: 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
Wind turbine maintenance is a challenge in itself, with their remote and often hostile locations. Add to this the bigger turbines, bigger blades, harsher winds, and so on, that we see being used to power up the sector in the examples above, and it’s clear that the industry must recognise that proactive and effective maintenance is now more important than ever to protect this new high value equipment.
Shell Lubricants experts and engineers have worked 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 Lubricants 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.