Enabling a future of affordable, reliable wind power

In this series of blogs, Hexagon’s VP Global Energy Practice Lead, Siddhant Gupta, analyses how innovative manufacturing technology can accelerate progress towards achieving key sustainable development goals (SDGs), as outlined by the UN. Here we focus on SDG number 7: “Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all” from the perspective of the wind power industry.

Access to affordable, clean energy

As I discussed in my previous blog, it’s one thing to create systems capable of generating clean energy, but it is entirely another to ensure they are affordable to buy and maintain by enough of the planet’s population to make a real difference.

The growing focus on the need to reduce reliance on fossil fuels will certainly help in this context, because, as with most factory manufactured products, costs fall as volumes increase. The cost to the user of the clean energy produced is also falling and according to World Economic Forum, renewables were the cheapest source of energy in 2020. With the current energy crisis showing no sign of abating, this factor will only encourage greater adoption of clean energy systems such as wind and solar.

In 2020, the cost of onshore wind projects fell by 13%, and offshore wind projects by 9% (source). The most important factors in this reduction were: innovation in manufacturing, equipment performance, new business models, and, as previously highlighted, economies of scale. This illustrates the vital importance of companies, such as Hexagon, who are dedicated to finding efficiency gains from end to end across the product development and manufacturing processes in wind and other renewable energy sources.

Boosting reliability

Wind turbine failures occasionally make news headlines as they can be quite dramatic, and this can damage public confidence. But there are many ways to improve wind turbine reliability, with decisions made at the design stage being key. Hexagon’s end-to-end wind industry solutions start with smart, insightful design software that can automate multiple design steps, resulting in fewer iterations and optimised functionality in components such as drivetrains and blades. Further along the production process, precision metrology software and hardware can cross-check dimensional integrity against the original specifications, identify errors quickly, and feed back data to automatically correct the designs. A closed loop process such as this delivers instant efficiency gains as well as elevating quality and reliability within the finished system.

A sustainable and modern future

We know that a modern and sustainable planet is one that is far less reliant on fossil fuels. While once powering a new age of technological and social modernity, it is now essential that coal, gas and petroleum represent a much smaller proportion of the global energy mix. A modern and sustainable future will benefit from cheaper, more efficient and more reliable wind turbines that also require less energy to manufacture.

A sustainable future for many nations would also entail energy independence, specifically from fossil energy imports from volatile nations. Many nations in Europe, as well as globally, are ramping up wind energy manufacturing and looking to new frontiers for both technology and new locations to access wind energy. Offshore wind is becoming a significant part of the overall mix, encouraging nations and corporates to re-imagine wind energy percentages. These new developments come with new engineering challenges which Hexagon is working with manufacturers to overcome. We also assist with rapidly designing and supporting the certification of more reliable, efficient and lightweight drivetrains for manufacturers, from 5-16MW, aiding the market’s continual acceleration and enabling new innovations.

Discover more

To learn more about how Hexagon is elevating manufacturing in the renewable energy industry, head to our new website: https://hexagon.com/industries/energy-power-generation





  • Siddhant Gupta

    Siddhant Gupta (Sid) is VP Global Energy Practice Lead for Hexagon’s Manufacturing Intelligence division. He has more than 12 years of experience in the global energy sector, having led numerous digital transformation and de-carbonisation businesses. Prior to Hexagon, Sid was responsible for the Future Grid business at Siemens in APAC, focused on solar, battery storage and eMobility infrastructure. He started his career with Rolls Royce Power Systems, leading an Energy Storage (hydrogen, battery and thermal) segment in Europe. He has also driven digital transformation in a gas power generation business in US, and at an oil and gas business in the Middle East. Sid is passionate about sustainability and is keen to drive the transition to renewable energy, sustainable manufacturing and zero emission mobility.

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