Presentations - WindEurope Annual Event 2024

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Customization versus standardization of hybrid concrete towers, as the alternative to traditional steel towers.

Amaia Martinez Martinez, Business Development Manager, WINDTECHNIC ENGINEERING SL


Installation of bigger turbines at greater heights, where stronger and steadier winds can be harvested, seem to be one of the most effective solutions to reduce onshore wind energy production cost. However, traditional steel tower structures for + 5 MW wind turbines at heights of more than 140 m are limited both technically and economically. To avoid structural problems related to resonance, conventional steel tower technology requires of diameters at the base that cannot be transported on road, and thicknesses that cannot be industrialized. These reasons lead to extremely high manufacturing, transportation, and installation costs, that could paralyze the rapid growth of the sector. In the last years, hybrid concrete towers have been perceived as the most mature alternative tower technology that could break the barriers that conventional towers are facing for very high hub heights. However, the particularities and challenges of these type of towers are unknown for most of the professionals working in the industry since they are very dependent on local boundary conditions. Based on years of experience building different typology of concrete towers all over the world, the authors will show the more relevant aspects that should be taken into consideration when selecting hybrid towers as the preferred solution. Factors like local content requirements, size of the wind farm, available resources in the area, cost of those resources, wind profile, etc, have a huge impact on the cost competitiveness of these type of towers. But the main point that most of the wind turbine manufacturers are struggling with is the standardization of these structures. Is it worth standardizing these structures that are so dependent on local conditions? Is there a precast concrete tower type that could be the optimum for all markets? Or is it better to customize it per project and/or market?

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