Report: Technology, Renewables Will Grow Turbine Market

The growth in power generation from renewable energy sources, along with the continued shift from coal-fired generation to natural gas, is expected to drive the global market for turbines over the next several years, according to a report released by international business analysts Research and Markets.

The Dublin, Ireland-based company in an April 25 news release said the global market for turbines will top “310 GW by 2024 in terms of annual capacity installations, driven by spiraling consumption of electricity and equally robust electric power generation activity, growing prominence of renewable energy, and the resulting surge in [the] number of wind farms worldwide.” The report said the integration of renewable energy—and government mandates for its use—is “driving strong growth opportunities for wind turbines. Rising focus on cost reduction, efficiency enhancement, and emission control is driving technological innovations and advancements in the turbines industry.”

The “Turbines—Global Strategic Business Report” notes rising global power demand from commercial, industrial, and residential markets—including the rise in distributed generation—will drive innovation and adoption of new turbine technologies. Improvements in turbine technology, including higher efficiency, enhanced cooling, and cost savings were a focus of POWER magazine’s recent ELECTRIC POWER conference in Nashville, Tennessee.

“Environmental concerns and the shifting dynamics in the energy source mix are wielding a strong impact on the demand for various types of turbines for the power generation market,” said the Research and Markets report. “Turbines for renewable energy source power plants, including hydro and wind, are therefore expected to witness highest growth in the coming years. Additionally, cheap availability of natural gas in the U.S. and other regions supported by shale gas discoveries, is driving positive growth in demand for gas turbines.”

Chris Mieckowski, global director of solution portfolio marketing at Siemens Power and Gas, told POWER in a recent interview that “While traditional plants still play an important role in our energy mix, the development of distributed generation provides additional benefits and stability for power production.”

He continued: “Distributed plants place power producers closer to the actual demand of end-users, allowing for smaller, more resilient plants. These plants are typically powered by smaller gas turbines which are engineered for fast-starting, fast-ramping, high turndown, and part load efficiency. The benefits provided by these gas turbines make them an ideal option for backup power or as a supplement for renewables, which are inherently unpredictable. With the ability to start fast and frequently, industrial and aero-derivative combustion turbines are securing their role complementing large combined cycle plants.”

The report said technology advances for wind turbines will make the equipment “sleeker, higher, and cheaper,” and will include vertical-axis wind turbines. It said advanced gas turbine technology will include hydrogen turbines, Siemens’ HL-class turbines, and advanced combustion engines. The report also notes that 3D printing, with its level of precision, “holds immense potential to revolutionize gas turbines manufacturing.”

Jim Crouse, executive vice president of sales and marketing for California-based Capstone Turbine, told POWER recently that the increasing market for distributed gas generation will contribute to advancements in the turbine technology.

“The market for distributed gas generation is growing,” Crouse said. “More businesses are looking at reducing their operating expense, and one of the most impactful ways to do so is to install a microturbine-based onsite cogeneration solution that is highly efficient and reliable. This allows businesses to break free from their local utilities and precisely control their energy costs. We see this market continuing to grow, especially as part of the growth of microgrids.”

Research and Markets’ report said the Asia-Pacific region “represents the largest and the fastest growing market worldwide with a projected CAGR [compound annual growth rate] of 4.2% over the analysis period. Rapid industrialization; massive utility/power infrastructure investments; expanding population and energy needs; implementation of energy-efficiency standards; and governments, private players and power generation companies’ efforts to establish more power generation facilities to exploit available low-cost fuels, enhance efficiency of existing facilities, develop and integrate alternate fuel technologies are all important factors benefiting demand for turbines in the region.”

Mieckowski noted that “traditional” power generation still has a major role in turbine advancements. “One of the top priorities of the traditional power market is increasing power density, or producing as much power as possible on the smallest footprint,” he said. “Larger gas turbines designed to support this traditional model provide savings through economies of scale and enable baseload efficiency to be maximized. This need has resulted in the development of 1 GW+ combined cycle projects driven by advanced class combustion turbines. Progress continues to be made on these gas turbines in order to get more power and efficiency out of each gas turbine, as well as increase the flexibility of the overall plant.”

Darrell Proctor is a POWER associate editor (@DarrellProctor1, @POWERmagazine)