EDITOR’S NOTE: This article comes from PM-generator manufacturer The Switch
As CEO of The Switch, a Finnish generator manufacturer, I have watched windpower weather financial and political uncertainty and remain a growing business. More countries are adopting installed renewable energy. Finland, for instance, installed 9 MW last year and plans to have 2500 MW by 2020. Our neighbor, Sweden, built some 763 MW in 2011.
Trends seen at the recent European Wind Energy Association exhibition include turbine manufacturers moving away from vertical integration, creating opportunities for suppliers. Also, an inevitable shift to permanent magnet generators and full-power converters has come quickly. After the price of rare-earth materials soared last year, prices stabilized and PM manufacturers have been the benefactors. Today, the world’s four largest companies have launched products based on PM machines. Five years ago, no companies in the Top 15 used these components.
We must remember that everything has not been invented yet. At the EWEA exhibition, I met several wind industry companies, existing players, and newcomers that are developing new turbine designs. It is essential that the industry does not stagnate. One of The Switch values is “Exploring new challenges,” which means we plan to continuously develop better designs for the new drive trains and help keep the industry rolling.
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