Steel and the global wind industry

We’ve spoken before about the significance of steel in the sustainable future of construction, but what about energy? It’s pretty clear the need for renewable energy will continue to grow as energy consumption increases all over the world. However, what will power the construction of this transition?

Steel and renewable energy

One of our primary resources for producing renewable energy is via wind turbines. For context, a wind turbine operating at 33% capacity is capable of producing enough energy for 460 average US homes. Given the fact that US homes are generally bigger than ours in the UK, the capabilities of wind production shouldn’t be underestimated. You might be thinking, where does steel come in? Well let us discuss.

Steel is critical for both onshore and offshore wind turbines, making up 20% and 90% of turbine mass for onshore and offshore wind, respectively. This means that, accounting for the rapid growth that is expected for global wind energy installations, steel will follow suit. Over the coming decade and beyond, increasing wind turbine sizes and overall demand will almost certainly result in wind industry steel consumption doubling before 2030.

The construction and formation of wind turbines is largely responsible for steel requirements. Very few materials can replicate the properties offered by steel. As you’ve probably guessed already, both onshore and offshore turbine towers are fabricated from steel. While onshore wind turbines rely on concrete for their foundations, offshore wind turbines rely on steel structures such as monopiles and jackets for their foundations.

Steel supply chain

The biggest stumbling block towards a more wind-dependant future is the fact that steel prices are currently volatile. This is important in the relationship between steel and wind energy, as average global steel prices almost doubled between 2020 and 2021. This therefore reduces the viability of wind turbines and subsequently increases wind project costs. Overall, this highlights  the risk of steel price volatility causing disruption along the wind industry value chain. However, it also emphasises the continued importance of steel. Not just within industrial construction projects, but also renewable energy efforts.

We’re confident that, with new technologies being introduced in the production process, steel prices will stabilise and a greener future can be achieved through the continued efforts in wind and other renewable energy sources.

Coverworld UK Ltd

At Coverworld, we’ve never underestimated the power and importance of steel. Since the birth of our company decades ago, we’ve been proud to use such an abundant and reliable material. Through our offering of steel cladding products, we’re confident we can supply a market-leading solution. Whether its steel cladding for walls, steel cladding for roofs, or steel cladding for sheds, our product range is second to none.

For more information on our range of profiled sheeting and steel cladding products, click here. Alternatively, contact a member of our team for expert advice on a particular construction project.