Is the Wind Turbine Blade Inspection Services Market Expanding in Value Globally? | SGS SA, Vestas, Mistras Group
Wind turbine blade inspection services involve periodic visual inspection and NDT inspection of wind turbine blades. These inspections ensure safety and performance of wind turbines.
The growing demand for renewable energy sources across the globe is a major factor driving the growth of the wind turbine blade inspection services market during the forecast period. According to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), renewable energy can meet 90% of global power needs by 2050. Many countries have set renewable energy targets to curb carbon emissions from conventional power sources like coal and gas. This is increasing installations of offshore and onshore wind farms. Additionally, regular inspections of wind turbine blades are important to detect any defects on blades such as cracks, distortions, and repairs. This ensures safe operation of wind turbines and prevents unexpected downtime. However, the high initial costs and regular maintenance requirements of wind turbines are expected to hamper the market growth.
According to Coherent Market Insights study, The global Wind Turbine Blade Inspection Services market was valued at US$ 5,470.0 Million in 2022 and is expected to exhibit a CAGR of 10.8% between 2023 and 2030.
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Major Growth in Wind Energy Capacity Leads to Rise in Demand for Blade Inspection Services
The global wind energy market has witnessed rapid growth in installed capacity over the past decade which is poised to continue growing at a healthy pace. Between 2010-2020, global cumulative installed wind power capacity grew from roughly 197 GW to over 750 GW representing a growth rate of over 15% annually. This massive scale up in wind energy installations has directly corresponded with rising demand for regular inspection and maintenance services to ensure optimum performance of turbines and blades over their operational lifetimes. Studies have found that proper inspection and scheduled maintenance can help increase energy output of wind farms by 2-3% annually by preventing potential damage and failures. As more countries aim to increase the share of renewable energy in their electricity mix to meet climate targets, further growth in wind power is assured which will boost utilization of blade inspection services.
Stringent Safety and Operational Standards Drive Increased Adoption of Advanced Inspection Techniques
Wind turbine blades are subjected to harsh environmental conditions and stresses during operations. Failure or damage to blades can potentially cause serious safety and operational issues for wind farms. To address this, regulators worldwide have implemented stringent safety and performance standards for wind turbines. For example, IEC standards in Europe mandate thorough visual and ultrasonic inspections at least once every year for onshore turbines. Similarly, DNV standards in the U.S. require advanced NDT techniques like thermography, shearography or fiber optic tests at least every 2-3 years for offshore blades. Compliance with such standards is vital for wind farm operators and OEMs. This has driven increased adoption of latest non-destructive testing methods, drones, AI and robotics for automated and detailed blade inspections. Advanced techniques can detect even tiny defects early on and prevent costly repairs or replacements in future.
Increased Replacement Demand as First Generation of Blades Reach End of Lifetime
The first major wave of onshore wind turbine installations took place between 2000-2010 globally. Many of these early generation turbines had blade designs optimized for 15-20 year lifetimes. As such, a sizable portion of the existing installed base is reaching or has surpassed their design lifetimes. As per industry estimates, almost 25 GW of ageing onshore turbines will require blade replacements between 2020-2025. Similarly, the first few commercial offshore wind farms commissioned in mid-2000s are also nearing end of design lives. Replacing worn out blades with new, optimized designs can help extend turbine lifetimes by 10-15 years. This creates a predictable aftermarket for blade inspection services to assess structural health prior to removals and installations of replacement blades. Original blade manufacturers and third party service providers are well positioned to tap into this replacement boom over the coming decade.
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Stringent Qualification Standards Pose Barrier to Market Expansion
Unlike turbine and component manufacturing, the blade inspection services industry lacks standardized qualifications, certifications and accreditation processes across regions. Service quality depends highly on competence and training of individual inspectors. While large international players have well-defined in-house standards and training regimes, many smaller local firms find it challenging to qualify for contracts. Especially for offshore and special inspections requiring operational access like thermography, wind farm owners and insurers seek inspectors with proven track records. Obtaining relevant safety certifications and experience is a lengthier process. This acts as a restraint for new entrants and expansion of regional small players into developed overseas markets with strict contractor pre-qualification protocols. Harmonizing qualification requirements through regulatory or industry bodies can help open up the market further.
Market Opportunity in Repowering of Aged Onshore Wind Farms
As the first wave of onshore wind farms commissioned in the 1990s-2000s approach or surpass their design lifetimes, many will require repowering with modern larger and higher capacity turbines to remain economically viable. Repowering involves replacing worn out generators and blades with new turbines utilizing the existing land, permits, transmission infrastructure and grid connections. Countries with sizeable fleets of ageing farms present a major repowering opportunity over the next decade. For example, repowering requirements in Germany and UK are estimated at 20-30 GW each by 2030. This offers a predictable aftermarket for blade inspection services to support repowering projects. Service providers with expertise and experience in assessment of worn components can gain work assisting
The major players operating in the market include:
➱ Intertek Group Plc
➱ SGS SA
➱ Cenergy International Services L.L.C.
➱ UL International Gmbh
➱ Mistras Group
➱ James Fisher and Sons plc
➱ Global Wind Service
➱ Force Technology
➱ Siemens Wind Power GmbH & Co.KG
These companies are focusing on new product development, partnerships, collaborations, and mergers and acquisitions to increase their market share and maintain their position in the market.
◘ Quality assurance & quality control
◘ Nondestructive examination (NDE)
◘ Condition assessment/inspection
◘ Process safety management
◘ Welding & corrosion engineering
Market segment by Region/Country including:
- North America (United States, Canada and Mexico)
- Europe (Germany, UK, France, Italy, Russia and Spain etc.)
- Asia-Pacific (China, Japan, Korea, India, Australia and Southeast Asia etc.)
- South America (Brazil, Argentina and Colombia etc.)
- Middle East & Africa (South Africa, UAE and Saudi Arabia etc.)
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
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