Title: 2012 JRC wind status report: Technology, market and economic aspects of wind energy in Europe
Publisher: Publications Office of the European Union
Publication Year: 2012
JRC N°: JRC77895
ISBN: 978-92-79-27956-0 (print)
978-92-79-27955-3 (pdf)
ISSN: 1018-5593 (print)
1831-9424 (online)
Other Identifiers: EUR 25647
OPOCE LD-NA-25647-EN-C (print); LD-NA-25647-EN-N (online)
URI: http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC77895
DOI: 10.2790/72509
Type: EUR - Scientific and Technical Research Reports
Abstract: The wind energy sector uses a mature yet continuously improving technology. The reliability of wind turbines and the efficiency of energy capture are both high, yet continue to improve with new designs, new components and new materials. Even non-technological aspects such as project management, better forecasts of wind energy production and better risks assessment are contributing to increasing the competitiveness of wind power and reducing its overall cost. This is sometimes achieved even if some cost areas can occasionally increase, e.g. capital costs due to the better quality of components. To further increase reliability, scientists and designers require better knowledge of loads, load effects and electrical effects in the mechanical and electrical parts of the turbine. They also require materials and basic components (e.g. electronic components of the electricity subsystems) that can stand higher temperatures and perform better at normal operating temperatures. In some areas reliability is improved through more redundancy of equipment, in particular in control and power electronics. The technological aspects of wind energy include: • Wind turbine components: blades, forgings (e.g. main shafts), castings (e.g. hubs, bearing housings and bed plates), pitch, control and yaw systems, generator, gearbox, bearings and shafts, and power electronics. • Design for manufacture, transport and installation; turbine assembly. • Offshore foundations design and manufacture; and foundations, cable and turbine installation. • Substations: switchgear, transformers, cables, circuit breakers, etc. The world wind market and the European offshore sectors are continuously growing although European onshore wind growth is less significant. Overall, the global annual market remains stable at around 40 GW of installed capacity, but this figure hides huge variations between individual markets. Cumulative installed capacity reached 240 GW at the end of 2011 and is expected to reach 285 GW at the end of the current year (2012). The 2011 manufacturers market continued to be dominated by Vestas and, as in 2010, it included four Chinese firms among the top-ten. However, the changes in the Chinese market are very significant as the 2010 market leader Sinovel (and 2nd worldwide) is now 7th worldwide. European firms, General Electric (US) and Suzlon (India) have a truly international reach whereas Chinese firms are still confined to the Chinese market. Capital expenditure (CapEx) or cost for wind installations vary greatly worldwide: unit costs in some countries can be triple those in other countries. Overall, 2011 CapEx for onshore wind averaged 1 580 €/kW, if Chinese and Indian installations are excluded (due to different cost methodologies), and the offshore figure reached 3 500 €/kW although from a low installed capacity basis. Operational costs (OpEx) are also very different onshore (21 €/MWh) and offshore (32 €/MWh, figures depend on assumptions such as capacity factors). There is a clear trend to lower prices in both CapEx and OpEx, possibly steeper in onshore than offshore OpEx and with very significant potential in offshore CapEx. This report presents a snapshot of the current situation of the wind sector from a technology and market perspective, and a detailed analysis of the economics of wind. It is the first of a series of annual reports which will not only include annual developments but also specific, one-off research into technology aspects of the wind sector.
JRC Directorate:Energy, Transport and Climate

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