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Turbines of the year: The big players scoop up the big prizes

WORLDWIDE: Our annual review of the industry's best new products finds a shift in emphasis towards greater automation and modular construction to reduce costs, enhance product quality, and ease transport logistics.

Compiled with the support of independent technology and industry trends expert Eize de Vries.

Growing levels of automation in the manufacturing process, a focus on modular construction for easier transport and installation, and the continual refinement and fine-tuning of well-proven technology are the main themes to emerge from Windpower Monthly's fourth Turbine of the Year awards.

This emphasis played into the hands of the sector's big players, the companies with the engineering experience and the financial and industrial muscle to invest in new materials, tools and processes.

We have followed last year's format for these awards, judging onshore turbines in two categories - up to 2.9MW, and 3MW-plus - and a separate class for offshore machines. We have also allocated awards for drivetrains, rotor blades and significant innovations.

Entry criteria are unchanged. To qualify for one of the three turbine awards, the model needs to have been made available for commercial order in the past 12 months, with a prototype in operation. Prototypes are also required in the component categories.

While we are always on the lookout for innovative technology in our award winners, there are other, more prosaic factors that need to be taken into account.

They include, but are by no means limited to, the quality of design and manufacture, track record in operation, impact on the market and the ease with which they can be installed and maintained. In the end it comes down to a fairly simple question: does the product generate more electricity at a lower lifecycle cost?

That has always been our principal judging criteria, but this year it assumed even greater importance with the widespread shift towards competitive tendering for wind power and the reduction (or withdrawal) of support mechanisms. Wind has to stand on its own feet; these are the products that are making it possible.

Key to tables

BDFIG Brushless doubly-fed induction generator
C&GFRE Carbon & glass-fibre reinforced epoxy
DD Direct drive
DFIG Doubly-fed induction generator
EESG Electrically excited synchronous generator
GFRE Glass-fibre reinforced epoxy
HH Hub height
HSG High-speed geared
IG Induction generator
LSG Low-speed geared
MSG medium-speed geared
PMG permanent magnet generator
PCVS Pitch-controlled variable-speed
IEC class site ratings I, IIA, IIIB etc (I-III is equivalent to high-low wind speed in descending order, A-C is turbulence intensity in descending order, S meets special conditions outside class requirements

ONSHORE TURBINES UP TO 2.9MW

By far the largest and most competitive sector of the global wind power market, contested by nearly all leading manufacturers

MEDAL WINNERS

GOLD VESTAS V110-2.0MW

ONSHORE TURBINES 3MW-PLUS

Key growth area for the onshore market, with several leading OEMs introducing new models in 2015

MEDAL WINNERS

GOLD SIEMENS SWT-3.3-130

OFFSHORE TURBINES

Growing choice for offshore developers as new products are launched in the 6-8MW range

MEDAL WINNERS

GOLD SIEMENS SWT-7.0-154

DRIVETRAINS

The specialist manufacturers and OEMs look for weight reduction and more compact dimensions with their latest designs

MEDAL WINNER

GOLD ENERCON EP4 MODULAR DIRECT DRIVE GENERATOR

ROTOR BLADES

Greater consistency in manufacturing quality and an emphasis on easier transport and installation mark this year's entries

MEDAL WINNER

GOLD BLADE DYNAMICS BD 78 BLADE

INNOVATIONS

Best of the year's brightest ideas at the cutting edge of the wind industrys

MEDAL WINNER

GOLD FRAUNHOFER IWES DYNALAB

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