Wind is a renewable source of energy. Harnessing wind energy is the process of converting kinetic energy generated by wind turbines into electrical energy. Wind turbine automation is the process of installing a computer-based intelligent system, which controls the turbine functioning and detects failures, optimizes wind turbine performance through motion control and maximizes energy conversion. The automation may be completely integrated or implemented in any specific part of the wind turbine, such as inside the nacelle. There is a growing need for wind turbine automation in order to protect the wind turbine infrastructural components and achieve maximum energy conversion rate. With wind turbine automation, the efficiency to harness wind energy will grow and dependency on traditional exhaustible and non-renewable resources, like oil and coal, will reduce.
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The benefits associated with automation of wind turbine are safety, reliability and efficiency of wind turbines, high energy conversion rate, increased durability of wind turbine components, economy of scale, and reduction of accidental failure during maintenance and installation. On the other hand, initial investment and cost of replacement of traditional infrastructure associated with wind turbine automation are very high. The technical advancements are in the initial phase and need more time to mature.
The global wind turbine automation market will show a double-digit growth rate in the coming five years (2015–2020) due to increased adoption of wind energy as a renewable resource. The key drivers behind the growth of global wind turbine automation market are – depleting conventional natural resources, increasing efforts by governments towards harnessing wind energy, rising concern towards global warming and global efforts towards controlling emission of carbon dioxide and other poisonous gases into the atmosphere. The wind energy market faces competition from other emerging renewable harnessing technologies such as solar cells. The major restraining factor that hinders the growth of wind turbine automation market is a customized need for automation by different clients owing to variation in wind power across various geographies.
The global wind turbine automation market can be segmented on the basis of type of wind farms, type of automation used and geography. Types of wind farms can be further classified into onshore and offshore. On the basis of type of automation system, the market can be categorized into SCADA, PLC, HMI and CMS (condition monitoring system). Geographical segmentation includes North America, Latin America, Asia-Pacific, Japan, Western Europe, Eastern Europe and Middle East & Africa.
Recent advancement involves various technologies to monitor and maintain records of frequency of turbine motion and energy conversion to perform data analytics and forecast for future developments.
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Siemens AG, Bachmann electronic GmbH, Rockwell Automation, Inc., and ABB are some of the key players of the global wind turbine automation market. The markets in Germany and the US are mature in terms of technology adoption. On the other hand, the South Asian market shows tremendous expected growth in future. The rapid growth in wind power market will witness subsequent growth in the global wind turbine automation market. In order to meet the increasing demand for electricity, governments are heavily investing on wind energy related projects. Wind turbine automation will increase the productivity and energy conversion rate. India, China and Korea will emerge as big wind turbine automation markets in the future.