There was no let-up in technological progress during 2013. The wind industry's manufacturers are on the case, designing new products, testing prototypes and optimising existing machinery in the quest to generate more energy at lower cost. As the market matures, it grows ever more competitive. Manufacturers have to fight for their sales on several fronts — price and performance, reputation and reliability, monitoring and maintenance. Owners and developers often have plenty of choice about hardware, but cost of energy should be the leading principle.
This variety is well reflected in the products featured here, for the second instalment of Windpower Monthly's annual products of the year. We have largely followed last year's format and criteria to select our shortlists and announce the winners for 2013.
In short, that means each product's credentials were assessed for: overall product design quality; clever use of technology innovation; product-market impact and relevance; fitness for purpose; reliability record; grid connectivity; installation and upkeep.
There are six qualifying categories: three for turbines split by power rating size, plus two key components — drivetrains and rotor blades. And the final category is for technological innovations. To be considered for entry in the category, the wind turbines must have been available for commercial order in 2013, with a prototype up and running if it is a brand new design. For the component categories and the innovation, a prototype should be in existence.
We have not ignored the radical and revolutionary, but have also recognised that small-step evolutionary technology advancement has generally offered lower overall risk and therefore a more lasting impact on industry progress.
KEY TO TABLES
BDFIG brushless doubly-fed induction generator
DD direct drive
DFIG doubly-fed induction generator
HH hub height
HSG high-speed geared
IG induction generator
LSG low-speed geared
MSG medium-speed geared
SG (electrically excited) synchronous generator
PCVS pitch-controlled variable-speed
IEC class site ratings IIA, IIIB etc I-III is wind speed in descending order, A-C is turbulence intensity in descending order, S meets special conditions outside class requirements
Still extremely popular volume market, including for infrastructure and financially-constrained and emerging markets
GOLD Gamesa G58 850kW
The utility class forms the main battleground for the world's leading turbine manufacturers
GOLD Nordex N117/2400
The titans of the wind industry, the biggest and most powerful machines now on the market
GOLD Siemens SWT-6.0-154
The tried-and-tested solutions versus the radical and innovative designs
GOLD Vestas 2MW HSG-DFIG
Designers look to efficiency of manufacture and ease of transport as blades continue to grow in size
GOLD Enercon E-115 segmented rotor blade
The flagship product of the Vestas-MHI joint venture takes the honours for technological innovation in 2013
GOLD Vestas V164-8.0MW chassis