In the last few years, the demand for energy derived from alternative sources has risen significantly as nations focus more on curbing their carbon footprint. In response to this increasing demand for clean and sustainable energy, wind power is gaining much significance worldwide. Energy derived from wind currently accounts for nearly half of the energy produced from alternative sources worldwide, and is predicted to grow significantly during the forecast period from 2016 and 2024. The findings of Greenpeace International and the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) show that wind turbines will supply almost 12% of the global electricity by 2020.
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Several technologies have been introduced to improve the ways in which energy from wind is harnessed—the latest in this endeavor being airborne wind turbines. An airborne wind turbine, as the name suggests, is a novel design concept wherein the rotor of the wind turbine is suspended in air without the support of a tower, leveraging mechanical and aerodynamic benefits. This also helps curb spending on tower construction and yaw mechanisms, or the need for slip rings. This new design is expected to render high velocity and greater efficiency at higher altitudes.
How countries—both developed and developing—respond to this emerging technology will determine the future of the global airborne wind turbine market. The report presents insights into the various growth drivers and restraints that will have an influence on the growth trajectory exhibited by the airborne wind turbine market globally. It examines the market based on factors such as the prevailing competitiveness, the market size, lucrative regional markets, and key segments.
Global Airborne Wind Turbine Market: Key Opportunities and Threats
The fluctuating prices of fuel derived from non-renewable sources, conducive government regulations, growing demand for energy, and utility-scale generation are the primary factors driving the market for airborne wind turbines.
The ever-growing consumption of electricity, especially in emerging economies such as India, China, Brazil, and Russia has boosted the demand for alternative sources of energy. Wind being absolutely free, authorities are focusing extensively on putting to use the energy derived from wind. Furthermore, wind energy technologies typically call for low maintenance and the electricity derived is also very cheap, once the cost of building and installing turbines is recovered. The U.S., India, Germany, China, and Spain are among the major countries involved in generating wind energy on a large scale. Thus, enterprises operating in the airborne wind turbine market are expected to find lucrative opportunities in the aforementioned economies.
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Airborne wind turbines are portable and computer-controlled, which eliminates the need for an onboard pilot to operate the machine. Most importantly, no costly infrastructure, such as power stations or electrical grids, is required for installing an airborne wind turbine. These have been crucial factors driving the installation of airborne wind turbines worldwide.
However, like any other technology, airborne wind turbines also have certain drawbacks. Harnessing wind energy from high altitudes has its own challenges—which include unforeseen collisions—and therefore requires automated control piloting for additional safety. Nevertheless, with the increasing investment on R&D, efforts are being made to design more reliable and robust airborne wind turbines.