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Starting anew in 2022 – Five wind energy trends to look out for this year

Supply shortages and decreased revenues throughout the last two years led to fewer wind turbine installations than anticipated. But with CO2 reduction as relevant as ever and increasing interest in green energy, the wind industry is set for a big comeback. To give you an idea of what’s in store, we gathered five key trends for 2022.

1 – The bigger, the better

The amount of wind power produced often depends on the size of the rotor blades and the height of the turbine (wind speed increases with greater distance to the ground). Therefore, to scale up power generation, operators naturally want to go bigger.

This development could however intensify the industry’s logistical challenges.: If the components become larger, they not only become more expensive, but also more difficult to transport.

2 – Green means clean

In 2022, investments in renewable energies will rise. In the past ten years, the electricity generating capacity of clean energy has been growing at a rate of around 8% per year. Due to the strict global climate goals, governments all over the world have encouraged the technical development of renewable energy generation.

With soaring private and governmental investments, we can probably expect some breakthroughs in the wind sector and major growth in long-duration storage solutions like green hydrogen and advanced batteries. This will be the key to further integrate wind energy into the electrical grid – which in turn will make it more reliable, affordable, and competitive.

3 – Robots and wind workers

Continued digitization and pandemic disruption has heightened the demand for robots in the wind industry in the last two years. Deploying robots can help operators to conform with social distancing guidelines by reducing the number of employees on site and replace human workers in risky jobs like inspecting and repairing blades.

Contrary to the fear that robots will reduce the need for wind workers – they actually increase demand for on-site staff. In fact, wind turbine service technicians are on the Forbes list of the 30 fastest growing jobs.

4 – On to offshore

By 2026, the offshore wind market could potentially double its value to USD 56.8 billion compared to 2021. To reach climate goals, every country that signed the Green Deal needs to boost its energy capacity in the coming years. The Global Wind Energy Council expects 102.6 GW to be installed in European waters between 2021 and 2030, and the US plans to expand its installed offshore capacity, averaging 4GW each year by 2027.

Amid these developments, the wind industry will engage more in the research of solutions regarding specific offshore challenges like lightning protection or the disturbance of sea life. Only with more intuitive data can the industry better train technicians and calculate costs and efforts more efficiently – which could enable more sustainable and predictable growth.

5 – Circular economy

With increasing wind turbine installations, waste generation will rise as well. Additionally, more and more turbines are approaching the end of their service life, creating even more demand for sustainable waste-reducing measures.

Under these circumstances, enhancing the circular economy in the industry will become increasingly important. In particular, remanufacturing and reconditioning of used components should experience an all-time high, as countries all over the world try to extend the service life of their wind turbines in a sustainable way.

A bright future ahead

Given that most industries have adapted to the different preconditions by now, the pandemic won’t affect the wind sector as severely in 2022. That means it’s likely we will see a lot more added capacity, as well as new or updated storage solutions and technologies.

Nevertheless, to reach the world’s carbon emissions targets, the industry will need to grow even more quickly, so we may expect the wind sector to climb to new heights in the coming years as well. Stay tuned – we will keep you posted!

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