The purpose of this paper is to give a small resume of the major technological development and to outline what is felt to the biggest technical challenges for wind industry in the years to come.
The wind industry is still an young industry compared to other types of heavy industry like the shipyard industry, car/truck, large machinery, oil equipment and so forth. This also explains partly why our industry has been able to achieve the impressive steps toward today’s cheap electricity from the wind, which compare well with the achievement of the computer industry.
The paper has some minor historical aspects, which explain why this author feels the turbine industry has a technically good and healthy concept and the wind electricity has become competitive with any form for electricity generation. Many political and social reasons have been playing a major role in the wind industry development, but here is tried to concentrate on the technical aspects.
The second chapter explains the characteristics of a modern wind turbine in some detail since this is the background for this paper in general. The third chapter deals with historical aspects and the fourth chapter deals with the future challenges. The final chapter gives a short view of the future.
The future will bring most the technical challenges related to external condition for the turbines (Offshore-complex terrain) and how the turbines react to this.
It is postulated here that the wind industry has passed the point of no return, where a completely new concept can be more cost competitive compared to the well proven three bladed upwind turbine with stiff hub. The inertia is the wind industry simply does not allow the newcomers to enter the market, since the price graph of figure 6 has shown such great improvement.