Look Towards A New Future

Feb 2, 2012

Power Electronics for Wind Turbines

44GW in 2011, every year beats the predictions, but it may not last…

In 2011, almost 44GW of wind energy has been installed in the world and half of it was in China. Each years’ results are greater than predictions, and it has been so for the last 10 years. But we envision a slow down in this growth, fully explained in this report: 22% annual growth is huge. Based on the history, we believe the market will stay between 15% and 20% growth until 2015. Compared to all other power electronics markets, this is still the biggest opportunity for this type of converters in power electronics.

There are other main trends at the macroscopic level:
  • European on-shore market is now close to maturity. EU countries are now starting to conquer and equip their off-shore potential.
  • Emerging markets (South America and Asia) are starting to equip themselves to feed their grid with green energy.
Turbine architecture is changing, and converters with them. We aim at greater efficiency and reducing O&M (operating and maintenance) costs. Permanent magnets, no-gearbox and full converters seems to be the ideal combination, if material costs stay stable.

Converters are also more demanding, and thus more power electronics is required: converter market is at $4.5B today, and will top +$5.5B in 2017.
The next five years are still on high growth, thanks to the technology evolutions detailed in this report.

Power Electronics for Wind Turbines

Published: February 2012
No. of Pages: 
 : US$4719             


Integration and modularity” trend is redesigning the supply-chain
Converters manufacturing and supply-chain is in the middle of a major evolution: modularity and integration. Rather than supplying one passive components, we expect to see more and more companies to merge with partners, and provide a pre-assembled stack, where only the power module would be missing. You can then easily design and maintain a converter using and replacing these “bricks”. This type of assembly is more and more used in high power electronics. Companies such as Mersen, Methode electronics,… are positioning towards this new type of business model. This evolution is fully described in this report, highlighting the passive components, their importance in the converter, the future trends to come…

Moving From DFIG to Full converter has a Large impact on passives

The supply-chain is moving, and you will get the tools to understand this evolution in this report: With the integration trend, we will see more and more companies manufacturing or supplying several passives at a time, assembled together, to gain in added value. The components are to be pre-assembled in stacks, and the final integrator will choose the power switch.

Laminated busbars are fully part of this integration trend as they connect all these components together. Mersen announced recently the acquisition of Eldre, third player of the busbar market. On the other hand, Chinese players such as Eagtop, or CSR are gaining in experience of laminated busbar manufacturing. Globally, the market is on growth trend reaching $44M in 2017, following the need of higher power converters.

According to most players, the capacitor market is not expecting a technical breakthrough, but footprint and integration skills will give advantage to the players who mastered it. The polypropylene film shortage is now over, and the market is not as tense as it used to be.

The resistor market is suffering from the move to full converter design. The design of grid fault protection systems requires less very high power resistors, and thus, the crowbar resistor market will diminish by 7% in the 2010-2017 period. DC link chopper is using the same technology and the move will fuel this 16% growth market.

Globally, technical evolutions have very high impact on passive components market. But these impacts, detailed in this report, are very different from one to the other.