While the outlook for the global economy remains uncertain, one industry which looks set to remain strong is wind energy.

A recent GlobalData report forecasts continued steady growth for the global wind energy market to 2020. The growing Asia-Pacific wind power market, powered by India, China and other emerging countries, is expected to continue to drive growth, as well as emerging South America and Africa countries such as Brazil, Columbia, Argentina and South Africa.

And the offshore wind market is forecast to become one of the major market segments of wind power generation over the coming years. Although offshore wind power installations accounted for only 1.6% of the global wind power market in 2010, with countries such as the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, the US and China, starting to exploit offshore wind potential it’s expected that this figure will reach 9% by 2020.

As the wind turbine manufacturers push for higher performance and lower manufacturing costs, turbine blade producers and suppliers must come up with improved designs, materials and manufacturing processes. In the January/February 2012 issue of Reinforced Plastics we look at some of the latest developments in composites for the manufacture of wind turbine blades, and see how these giant blades are tested.

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