The power industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by the increasing global demand for power, increased preference for large-scale installations, huge potential for offshore wind power, and increased renewable energy auctions, as well as growing importance of technologies such as SCADA data and operating modes and artificial neural network prediction models. In the last three years alone, there have been over 656,000 patents filed and granted in the power industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Environmental sustainability in power: wind turbine performance monitoring. Buy the report here.

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However, not all innovations are equal and nor do they follow a constant upward trend. Instead, their evolution takes the form of an S-shaped curve that reflects their typical lifecycle from early emergence to accelerating adoption, before finally stabilizing and reaching maturity.

Identifying where a particular innovation is on this journey, especially those that are in the emerging and accelerating stages, is essential for understanding their current level of adoption and the likely future trajectory and impact they will have.

40+ innovations will shape the power industry

According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which plots the S-curve for the power industry using innovation intensity models built on over 70,000 patents, there are 40+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Within the emerging innovation stage, solar-powered charging stations, wind turbine performance monitoring, and renewable energy storage are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Foldable solar panels, solar thermal collectors, and geothermal collectors are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are wave energy converters and solar cell protective films, which are now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for environmental sustainability in the power industry

Wind turbine performance monitoring is a key innovation area in environmental sustainability

Wind turbine performance monitoring systems are known as health monitoring systems, which are widely used for diagnosing faults, defects or anomalies, and monitoring the condition of wind turbines. The wind turbine performance monitoring systems monitor the performance of wind turbines using various tools and techniques to collect data. One of the crucial components in performance monitoring includes exploiting artificial neural networks composed of different network designs and training algorithms, using simulated supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) data. The monitoring systems include sensors, data acquisition, data processing, cabling, and other installations that provide continuous and real-time information on the monitored component condition.

GlobalData’s analysis also uncovers the companies at the forefront of each innovation area and assesses the potential reach and impact of their patenting activity across different applications and geographies. According to GlobalData, there are 40+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established power companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of wind turbine performance monitoring.

Key players in wind turbine performance monitoring – a disruptive innovation in the power industry

‘Application diversity’ measures the number of applications identified for each patent. It broadly splits companies into either ‘niche’ or ‘diversified’ innovators.  

‘Geographic reach’ refers to the number of countries each patent is registered in. It reflects the breadth of geographic application intended, ranging from ‘global’ to ‘local’. 

Patent volumes related to wind turbine performance monitoring

Company Total patents (2021 - 2023) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
General Electric Co 84 Unlock Company Profile
Siemens AG 44 Unlock Company Profile
Vestas Wind Systems AS 25 Unlock Company Profile
International Business Machines Corp 15 Unlock Company Profile
Xinjiang Goldwind Science & Technology Co Ltd 13 Unlock Company Profile
IdentiFlight International LLC 11 Unlock Company Profile
Zeppelin-Stiftung Co 11 Unlock Company Profile
Sentient Science Corp 10 Unlock Company Profile
Acciona SA 9 Unlock Company Profile
ABB Ltd 9 Unlock Company Profile
Acciona SA 9 Unlock Company Profile
Verdane Capital 7 Unlock Company Profile
Sinovel Wind Group Co Ltd 6 Unlock Company Profile
Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy SA 5 Unlock Company Profile
Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust PLC 5 Unlock Company Profile
Envision Energy (Jiangsu) Co Ltd 5 Unlock Company Profile
Inventus Holdings, LLC 4 Unlock Company Profile
Envision Digital International Pte Ltd 4 Unlock Company Profile
Hexagon AB 4 Unlock Company Profile
Equinor ASA 2 Unlock Company Profile
China Huaneng Group Co Ltd 2 Unlock Company Profile
IGUS Innovative Technische Systeme GmbH 2 Unlock Company Profile
Xerox Holdings Corp 2 Unlock Company Profile
Ming Yang Smart Energy Group Ltd 2 Unlock Company Profile
BP Plc 2 Unlock Company Profile
Boulder Imaging, Inc 2 Unlock Company Profile
China Guodian Corporation 1 Unlock Company Profile
Guangdong Electronic Industry 1 Unlock Company Profile
China Lufa Investment Group Co Ltd 1 Unlock Company Profile
Beijing Jinfeng Kechuang Wind Power Equipment Co Ltd 1 Unlock Company Profile
Honeywell International Inc 1 Unlock Company Profile
Equinor ASA 1 Unlock Company Profile
Shanghai Electric Group Corp 1 Unlock Company Profile
Frontier Wind 1 Unlock Company Profile
Dongfang Electric Corporation Ltd 1 Unlock Company Profile
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd 1 Unlock Company Profile
Uni-President China Holdings Ltd 1 Unlock Company Profile
China Longyuan Power Group Corp Ltd 1 Unlock Company Profile
Power Construction Corporation of China 1 Unlock Company Profile
AB SKF 1 Unlock Company Profile
Robert Bosch Stiftung GmbH 1 Unlock Company Profile
Ducheng Weiye Group Co Ltd 1 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

General Electric is one of the leading patent filers in wind turbine performance monitoring. As a leading wind turbine repair company, GE combines technical expertise and rigor to keep wind turbines online by servicing and repairing major systems within the turbine to avoid potential downtime and underperformance. In addition to wind turbine repair services, GE applies robust methods to monitor, troubleshoot and inspect turbines, boosting uptime and lifecycle production. Some other key patent filers in the automotive industry include Siemens, Vestas Wind Systems and IBM.

In terms of application diversity, Sentient Science leads the pack, while Acciona and Envision Digital International stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Zeppelin-Stiftung held the top position, followed by Sentient Science and IdentiFlight International.

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the power industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) in Power.

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GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData’s Patent Analytics tracks patent filings and grants from official offices around the world. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.