Industryweek 1625 19982 Wind Turbines

Tapping Wind's Potential

Sept. 15, 2009
New automation technology study weighs benefits of wind turbine industry.

Wind power is one of the fastest-growing sources of energy around the world. Its popularity comes as a result of its abundance, providing communities with a clean, local source of electricity. At the moment, though, wind accounts for just 1% of U.S. electricity use. But that is about to change in a hurry.

According to a new market study from the Automation Technologies Council, the wind turbine market is undergoing rapid growth, and signs suggest it has reached the point where automation technologies may be needed for continued expansion.

In the United States, wind energy gets a federal tax credit of 1.8 cents per kilowatt-hour. Moreover, the U.S. Department of Energy has set the goal of 30% energy from wind by 2030. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act also provides a 30% investment tax credit to purchasers of wind turbines. In 2008 alone, the worldwide wind turbine market grew by 28.7%.

Though automation technology is beginning to appear in blade manufacturing, tower welding, blade angle adjustment, nacelle adjustment and blade inspection, its presence is still very limited. The ATC study says the wind turbine industry has few, if any, standards of quality control in its production. As a result, structural defects are common, requiring frequent inspection and maintenance checkups.

Automation -- with the use of machine vision, motion control and robotic equipment in production processes -- will inevitably address many of these problems. But for now, says the study, the manufacturing processes are largely inefficient.

A PDF of the study is available free in its entirety to members of the Automated Imagining Association, the Motion Control Association and the Robotics Industries Association.

See Also

Popular Sponsored Recommendations

How Manufacturers Can Optimize Operations with Weather Intelligence

Nov. 2, 2023
The bad news? Severe weather has emerged as one of the biggest threats to continuity and safety in manufacturing. The good news? The intelligence solutions that build weather ...

Legacy Phone Lines Are Draining Your Profits

Oct. 30, 2023
Copper wire phone line expenses that support emergency devices could be costing your company millions of dollars in wasteful overhead expenses. Rates have been skyrocketing while...

The Realist Guide to Sustainable Supply Chains

Sept. 28, 2023
A ‘roll up your sleeves’ guide to driving green line performance at your organization. Learn with this easy-to-understand ebook how to implement green supply chain management ...

Digitally Transforming Data and Processes With Product Lifecycle Management

Oct. 29, 2023
Manufacturers face increasing challenges in product development as they strive to consistently deliver improved results. Discover how industry leaders are improving time-to-market...

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of IndustryWeek, create an account today!