Report: Electric-Drives Growth Propelled By Growing Wind Energy Industry

The growth in the wind industry has resulted in an increase in electric drives, according to ‘Global Outlook for Electric Drives in the Wind Power Industry,’ a new analysis from Frost & Sullivan.

Electric drives in wind turbine generators are a popular choice among industry entrants who are looking for cost-effective solutions that will help them produce power efficiently and achieve the return on investment desired while meeting grid code requirements, according to the report, which also says that the industry earned revenues of $1.6 billion in 2009 and estimates this to reach $4.10 billion in 2015.

According to Frost & Sullivan, there has been a marked preference for direct-drive systems in the last couple of years. Variability and intermittency of wind are encouraging suppliers to deploy direct-drive technologies with full power converters systems. This will give them higher energy efficiencies, lesser maintenance than conventional gearbox machines and more power output, the report says.

The lack of transmission-line infrastructure particularly affects the North American and Asian regions. Therefore, future wind power plants will not only support the grid by delivering fault-ride capability and frequency, voltage and volt-ampere-reactive control, but will also carry a share of power control capability for the grid, according to the report. Modern designs of generators and electric drives are likely to be customized to suit wind turbine operation.

Taking into account energy yield and reliability, direct-drive generator systems with electric drives are expected to be more suited to wind turbines than geared drive systems, especially for offshore applications, in which maintenance is a huge concern.

SOURCE: Frost & Sullivan

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