With the new year ahead, attention is firmly on the wind power industry and what trends we can expect to see in 2019. Wind energy made huge strides across the world in 2018, meaning more access to affordable, reliable, clean electricity is on the way this year.
With this in mind, we’ve put together our thoughts on what might lie ahead for the wind power and renewable energy sectors –
Renewables will become Britain’s primary power source by 2020
It’s predicted that wind, solar and other forms of renewable generation will 121.3 terawatt hours of electricity by 2020, suggesting that renewables are on course to overtake fossil fuels as Britain’s primary source of power.
2018 saw a rise in the number of offshore wind farms which were commissioned or entered full operation – and as levels of renewable generation have climbed, gas-fired output and levels of coal-fired energy have reduced. This ultimately means that wind looks likely to continue as the primary source of renewable energy throughout 2019, especially as it produced a 55.4% share of the mix last year.
The US economy will see big benefits
The last few years have brought unprecedented wind growth and development to the United States, and this looks set to continue throughout 2019. New analysis data suggests that offshore wind has the potential to triple the number of wind jobs in five Atlantic coast states, with figures suggesting 25,000 new jobs to be added to the 105,000-plus workers who already have wind power careers in the US.
Corporations will continue to buy clean power
Market outlook reports suggest that last year alone, corporations purchased more than 7GW of renewable energy. This surpassed 2017’s record of 5.4GW, and this figure looks set to rise again in 2019.
As it stands, Facebook leads the market, and the organisation has committed to 100% clean energy by 2020, recently signing up for 3GW of new wind and solar energy.
Turbines will be smarter and more powerful
In 2018 the average utility-scale wind turbine installed was rated at 2.32MW, however, new orders for wind include land-based turbines above 4MW – a first for the USA. Furthermore, manufacturers are pushing the capacity of offshore turbines, for example 2018 saw the launch of 10MW and 12MW turbines.
Developments and improvements in technology also mean that the wind turbines of the future are likely to be smarter. Digital sensors and AI-driven software means turbines could be able to anticipate and react to changing conditions, predict component longevity, and communicate with the grid or remote data centres. It’s also likely that artificial intelligence will help to boost productivity and save costs within the wind power industry.
Wind power could continue to benefit farmers
Aiding farmers and helping to avoid the pitfalls of drought and related issues, onshore win farms will continue to provide advantages for farmers who lease part of their land to turbine developers; in the US alone, this could generate over $260 million a year for farmers and ranchers.
The UK could reach new records
The United Kingdom installed record levels of offshore wind capacity last year, bringing more than 2GW of capacity online. This trend is set to continue, with more than 8GW of capacity and even larger turbines currently in development. It’s thought that the capacity added last year could provide enough offshore wind power for over 2.3 million homes, with this figure expected to rise.
The UK’s offshore wind industry is positioned for an impressive 2019, as the Beatrice project in Moray Firth will bring 588MW online and work continues on projects in East Anglia and Yorkshire, both of which should be fully operational in 2020.
Growth in wind power is expected to continue for the foreseeable future, as more advances are on the way. The latest wind turbine technology helps affordably and reliably put natural resources to use, which is great news for the industry as a whole.