Extension of life of wind turbine blades and other components is important for wind farms, therefore, it is necessary to inspect blades more rigorously, in order to increase energy productivity and to reduce costs associated with replacement or repair. These inspection services includes NDT, robotics inspection, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), sensors or advanced imaging, and artificial intelligence. These services help to extend life of a wind turbine. Additionally, regular inspection can enhance the capacity of older turbines by reducing dynamic and aerodynamic imbalance and reducing edge erosion.
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Increasing Demand for Extending Life of Wind Turbines and Capacity of Ageing Assets
Increasing number of installation of wind turbines is leading to high demand for extending the life of these wind turbines. According to Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) analysis, in 2017, the total number of wind turbines installed was 546.1 GW, which increased from 486.8 GW in 2016. Hence, these increasing wind turbines demand for proper inspection to extend their lifespan. Wind turbines have 20 to 25 years life-span, however, during this period, proper and daily inspection is required for better operation and to reduce the probability of replacement. This is due to high exposure to dynamic loads and frequent load fluctuations under harsh environmental conditions including, extreme weather and as well as sand and dirt particles. Owing to these reasons, defects can occur throughout the composite material of a blade and not just on the visible surface. Composites used for blades are formed by infusing strong fiber reinforcements with resin. The result is a very robust, erosion resistant material, however, curing process can result in voids and air bubbles within the material, creating weak spots. If these areas of weakness are not observed in inspection, fatigue loading can lead to catastrophic blade failure on site.
Lack of Skilled Labor for Conducting Inspection, is one of the major factors hindering the global market growth
Lack of skilled labor is a major challenge for growth of the wind turbine inspection blades market. For instance, according to the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) analysis, in 2013, the wind energy sector had 7,000 unskilled labor, which could increase up to 15,000 by 2030. Hence, the wind energy sector is facing challenges of lack of skilled labor, which in turn increases the cost of training for wind energy companies, which is expected to negatively affect growth of the market over the forecast period.
Asia Pacific accounted for largest share in the global wind turbine blade inspection services market in 2017 and is expected to maintain its dominance over the forecast period (2018–2025). The market in Asia Pacific is expected to be valued at US$ 18.0 Billion by 2025. This is owing to increasing wind installation capacity in the region. According to the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) analysis, in 2016, the total number of wind turbine installed capacity was 203.6 GW and it is projected to reach up to 232.5 GW in 2017 in this particular region. China is the leading country and growth engine in the region in terms of wind turbine installation. For instance, according to the GWEC analysis, in China, the total number of wind turbine installed capacity was 168,732 MW in 2016 and it is reached to 188,392 MW in 2017, whereas 19,660 MW wind capacity was newly installed. Hence, increasing number of wind turbine installation will proportionally increase demand for blade inspection services, which will help in accelerating wind turbine blade inspection services market in this region.
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Some of the major players operating in the global wind turbine blade inspection services market include Intertek Group Plc, SGS SA, Cenergy International Services, L.L.C., UL International Gmbh, Mistras Group, James Fisher and Sons plc, Global Wind Service, Force Technology, Vestas, and Siemens Wind Power GmbH & Co.KG.
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