The ever downward pressure on electricity prices-as well as the healthy competition which exists between the manufacturers-requires constant improvements to wind turbine designs. Numerous small but important design changes mean that reliability is improving. Component weight-and hence the costs of wind turbine parts-are falling. Attention is also being paid to design aspects which will help with public acceptance of the technology, such as noise and whether wind plant are pleasing to look at. The most obvious manifestation of the march of progress, however, is the steady growth in machine size, which is increasing exponentially in much the same way as total capacity. The first commercial 1 MW size machines came onto the market only about three years ago. Now they are the most sold turbines on the German market-and commercial 2 MW machines are with us, as demonstrated at last month's industry trade fair at Husum.
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Senior Renewable Energy Analyst (WindGEMINI Product Lead) DNV GL Bristol (City Centre), City of Bristol