The wind industry is making improvements on all fronts: the capital cost and performance of its turbines, and in ongoing costs to operate and maintain turbines after they've been installed.
Over the past four years, the cost of wind farm maintenance and repairs has dropped 38% to about $24,490 per megawatt (MW) a year, reports Bloomberg New Energy Finance. The costs are dropping an average of 11% a year.
That's boosting the competitiveness of the onshore wind energy sector significantly.
Fierce competition among turbine makers has been a major contributor to driving down the costs of service contracts.
“Wind power has done much to improve its competitiveness against gas-fired and coal-fired generation in recent years, via lower-cost, more technically advanced turbines, and more sophisticated siting and management of wind farms," says Michael Liebreich, CEO of Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
Operational performance and efficiency are becoming a critical consideration for wind project owners and investors as more wind capacity comes online. Reducing unplanned downtime improves energy output and margins.
For turbine manufacturers, operational and maintenance services are also increasingly important because of uncertainly over future subsidies, especially in the US, that support new wind farm development.
The US has the most competitive prices of all markets.
Vestas, Siemens and Enercon ranked as the best service providers in the industry in terms of promptness and quality of service.