The expansion, in dimensions and numbers, of offshore wind machinery during 2016 is clearly reflected in these awards with the longest rotor blade yet, as well as the biggest, and most powerful, gearbox.
But the same trend is discernible in the onshore sector — taller towers, longer blades, higher-rated turbines. If last year's buzz word was automation; this year's is upscaling, especially in ratings.
Classes and criteria
Wind turbines are judged in three classes: up to 2.9MW, 3MW-plus, and offshore. There are also awards for drivetrains, rotor blades and the year's most promising innovations.
To qualify for a turbine award, the model needs to have been made available for commercial order in the past 12 months, with at least one prototype installed and operating. Working prototypes are also required in the components categories.
Ground-breaking technology helps, but the Windpower Monthly awards recognise the everyday requirements of energy generators.
Among other things we examine the quality of the product's design and manufacture, its track record, impact on the market, industrialisation stage and expected advancements, installation and maintenance. The key question is this: does it generate more electricity at a lower upkeep cost?
Our Turbine of the Year awards have now been running since the January 2013 issue of the magazine, with interest growing each year.
Plans are now being made for further expansion of the judging categories to highlight other aspects of the global wind energy industry. More details of the wind-power "Oscars" will be revealed during the course of 2017.
KEY TO TABLESC&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
The volume end of the wind-power market, where competition over price and specification is at its most intense
GOLD Gamesa G126-2.5MW
Rapidly growing sector in mature markets, especially in low- and medium-wind-speed areas
GOLD Enercon E-141
The super-sized new generation machinery that is driving down offshore wind costs
GOLD Siemens SWT-7.0-154
Greater power without weight penalties in drive development
GOLD Windergy 8MW Gearbox
LM Wind Power’s 88.4-metre, 34-tonne blade for 8MW Adwen offshore turbine tops the table
GOLD LM Wind Power 88.4 P Rotor Blade
Best of the year’s brightest ideas at the cutting edge of wind-energy design and development
GOLD Vestas 900kW Multi-rotor concept turbine