Thematic Section - Future of Energy-efficient Operations and Production Systems

Technological patterns in the wind power industry: a study based on patent deposits

Rafael Garcia Barbastefano; Cristina Gomes Souza; Maria Clara Lippi; Renata Cristina Teixeira; Daniel Penalva Santos

Downloads: 0
Views: 459


Paper aims: This paper presents the results of technological analysis on wind energy based on patent documents classified with code F03D – “Wind Motors.”

Originality: Despite several studies on wind energy, this paper follows a different approach, presenting an overview that brings together technical and market information through social network analysis methods.

Research method: The study covered data from 55,223 documents filed in the principal patent offices of the world, obtained from the Derwent Innovations Index. The publications were organized and analyzed through correlation and technology transfer networks.

Main findings: General Electric (GE) and European companies have dominated the wind energy industry. However, in the last years, companies from emerging countries are also penetrating and becoming major players. Emphasis can be given to China, which has a deposit pattern detached from the rest of the world.

Implications for theory and practice: This study indicates that these companies became important turbine manufacturers and started to invest in developing new technologies and seek patent protection. Companies from emerging countries are new entrants, and their performance is still restricted to few markets compared to traditional companies.


Wind energy, Renewable energy, Patent analysis, Technological monitoring


Agalar, S., & Kaplan, Y. A. (2018). Power quality improvement using STS and DVR in wind energy system. Renewable Energy, 118, 1031-1040.

Altuntas, F., & Gök, M. S. (2020). Analysis of patent documents with utility mining: a case study of wind energy technology. Kybernetes, 50(9), 2548-2582.

Baca, J. A. M., González, A. J. E., & Montes, C. G. (2020). Analysis of the patent of a protective cover for Vertical-Axis Wind Turbines (VAWTs). Sustainability, 12, 7818.

Beiter, P., Cooperman, A., Lantz, E., Stehly, T., & Shields, M. (2021). Wind power costs driven by innovation and experience with further reductions on the horizon. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews. Energy and Environment.

BloombergNEF – BNEF. (2021). Global Wind Industry Had a Record Near 100GW year as GE, Goldwind Took Lead From Vestas. From

Chang, V., Chen, Y., Zhang, Z., Xu, Q. A., Baudier, P., & Liu, B. S. C. (2021). The market challenge of wind turbine industry-renewable energy in PR China and Germany. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 166, 120631.

Choi, J., & Hwang, Y. (2014). Patent keyword network analysis for improving technology development efficiency. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 83, 170-182.

Crowe, J. (2020). Explaining popular support for wind energy in the United States. Journal of Rural Social Sciences, 35(2), 2.

Curran, L., Lv, P., & Spigarelli, F. (2017). Chinese investment in the EU renewable energy sector: motives, synergies and policy implications. Energy Policy, 101, 670-682.

Dai, J., Yang, X., & Wen, L. (2018). Development of wind power industry in China: a comprehensive assessment. Renewable and Sustainable Energy, 97, 156-164.

Daim, T., Iskin, I., Li, X., Zielsdorff, C., Bayraktaroglu, A. E., Dereli, T., & Durmusoglu, A. (2012). Patent analysis of wind energy technology using the patent alert system. World Patent Information, 34, 37-47.

De Marco, A., Scellato, G., Ughetto, E., & Caviggioli, F. (2017). Global markets for technology: evidence from patent transactions. Research Policy, 46(9), 1644-1654.

De Rassenfosse, G., Dernisb, H., Guellecb, D., Picci, L., & de la Potteriee, B. van P. (2013). The worldwide count of priority patents: a new indicator of inventive activity. Research Policy, 42, 720-737.

Dubaric, E., Giannoccaro, D., Bengtsson, R., & Ackermann, T. (2011). Patent data as indicators of wind power technology development. World Patent Information, 33, 144-149.

Elia, A., Kamidelivand, M., Rogan, F., & Gallachóir, B. O. (2021). Impacts of innovation on renewable energy technology cost reductions. Renewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews, 138.

Energy Acuity. (2019). Top 10 wind turbine manufacturers: wind supplier analysis. Retrieved in 2021, April 19, from

Ermolenko, B. V., Ermolenko, G. V., Fetisova, Y. A., & Proskuryakova, L. N. (2017). Wind and solar PV technical potentials: measurement methodology and assessments for Russia. Energy, 137, 1001-1012.

Feng, Y., Lin, H., Ho, S. L., Yan, J., Dong, J., Fang, S., & Huang, Y. (2015). Overview of wind power generation in China: status and development. Renewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews, 50, 847-858.

Friedman, J., & Alm, E. J. (2012). Inferring correlation networks from genomic survey data. PLoS Computational Biology, 8(9), e1002687. PMid:23028285.

Gibson, L., Wilman, E. N., & Laurance, W. F. (2017). How green is ‘green’ energy? Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 32(12), 922-935. PMid:29074270.

Global Wind Energy Council – GWEC. (2018). Retrieved in 2018, January 15, from

Global Wind Energy Council – GWEC. (2021). Global Wind Report 2021. Retrieved in 2021, April 18, from

Grafström, J. (2019). Public policy failures related to China’s wind power development (Working Paper, No. 320). Stockholm: RATIO.

Grafström, J., & Lindman, A. (2017). Invention, innovation and diffusion in the European wind power sector. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 114, 179-191.

Hao, F., & Shao, W. (2021). What really drives the deployment of renewable energy? A global assessment of 118 countries. Energy Research & Social Science, 72, 101880.

Haščič, I., & Johnstone, N. (2011). CDM and international technology transfer: empirical evidence on wind power. Climate Policy, 11, 1303-1314.

Hille, E., Althammer, W., & Diederich, H. (2020). Environmental regulation and innovation in renewable energy technologies: Does the policy instrument matter? Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 153, 119921.

Hu, R., Skea, J., & Hannon, M. J. (2018). Measuring the energy innovation process: an indicator framework and a case study of wind energy in China. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 127, 227-244.

Hu, Y., & Cheng, H. (2013). Development and bottlenecks of renewable electricity generation in China: a critical review. Environmental Science & Technology, 47(7), 3044-3056. PMid:23445126.

Hunt, D., Nguyen, L., & Rodgers, M. (2007). Patent searching: tools & techniques. New York: John Wiley & Sons.

Hvelplund, F., Østergaard, P. A., & Meyer, N. I. (2021). Incentives and barriers for wind power expansion and system integration in Denmark. Energy Policy, 107, 573-584.

International Renewable Energy Agency – IRENA. (2021). Renewable capacity statistics 2021. Abu Dhabi: IRENA.

Islam, M. R., Mekhilef, S., & Saidur, R. (2013). Progress and recent trends of wind energy technology. Renewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews, 21, 456-468.

Johnstone, N., Haščič, I., & Watson, F. (2011). Annex A: methodological issues in the development of indicators of innovation and transfer in environmental technologies. In Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development – OECD (Ed.), Invention and transfer of environmental technologies (pp. 191-212). Paris: OECD Publications.

Kaldellis, J. K., & Zafirakis, D. (2011). The wind energy (r)evolution: a short review of a long history. Renewable Energy, 36, 1887-1901.

Kim, D., Kim, N., & Kim, W. (2018). The effect of patent protection on firms’ market value: the case of the renewable energy sector. Renewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews, 82, 4309-4319.

Kim, K.-T., Lee, D.-J., & Park, S.-J. (2014). Evaluation of R&D investments in wind power in Korea using real option. Renewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews, 40, 335-347.

Klaassen, G., Miketa, A., Larsen, K., & Sundqvist, T. (2005). The impact of R&D on innovation for wind energy in Denmark, Germany and the United Kingdom. Ecological Economics, 54, 227-240.

Klagge, B., Liu, Z., & Silva, P. C. (2012). Constructing China’s wind energy innovation system. Energy Policy, 50, 370-382.

Kumar, Y., Ringenberg, J., Deperu, S. S., Devabhaktuni, V. K., Lee, J. W., Nikolaidis, E., Andersen, B., & Afjeh, A. (2016). Wind energy: trends and enabling technologies. Renewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews, 53, 209-224.

Lanshina, T. A., Laitner, J. A. S., Potashnikov, V. Y., & Barinova, V. A. (2018). The slow expansion of renewable energy in Russia: competitiveness and regulation issues. Energy Policy, 120, 600-609.

Lee, K., & Lee, S. (2013). Patterns of technological innovation and evolution in the energy sector: a patent-based approach. Energy Policy, 59, 415-432.

Lema, A., & Lema, R. (2013). Technology transfer in the clean development mechanism: Insights from wind power. Global Environmental Change, 23(1), 301-313.

Lewis, J. I. (2011). Building a national wind turbine industry: experiences from China, India and South Korea. International Journal of Technology and Globalisation, 5, 281-305.

Lindman, A., & Söderholm, P. (2016). Wind energy and green economy in Europe: measuring policy-induced innovation using patent data. Applied Energy, 179, 1351-1359.

Liou, H. M. (2015). Comparing feed-in tariff incentives in Taiwan and Germany. Renewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews, 50, 1021-1034.

Liu, Y., Shao, X., & Tang, M. (2021). Spatio-temporal evolution of green innovation network and its multidimensional proximity analysis: Empirical evidence from China. Journal of Cleaner Production, 283, 124649.

Long, M., & Ma, T. (2016). Weighted node importance contribution correlation matrix for identifying China's core metro technologies with patent network analysis. In F. Lehner & N. Fteimi (Eds.), Proceedings of the KSEM 2016: Knowledge Science, Engineering and Management (pp. 199-208). Cham: Springer.

Luo, G. L., Li, Y. L., Tang, W. J., & Wei, X. (2016). Wind curtailment of China’s wind power operation: evolution, causes and solutions. Renewable and Sustainable Energy, 53, 1190-1201.

Madvar, M. D., Ahmadi, F., Shirmohammadi, R., & Aslani, A. (2019). Forecasting of wind energy technology domains based on the technology life cycle approach. Energy Reports, 5, 1236-1248.

Mey, F., & Diesendorf, M. (2018). Who owns an energy transition? Strategic action fields and community wind energy in Denmark. Energy Research & Social Science, 35, 108-117.

Miyamoto, M., & Takeuchi, K. (2019). Climate agreement and technology diffusion: Impact of the Kyoto Protocol on international patent applications for renewable energy technologies. Energy Policy, 129, 1331-1338.

Mizuno, E. (2014). Overview of wind energy policy and development in Japan. Renewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews, 40, 999-1018.

Nemet, G. F., & Kammen, D. M. (2007). US Energy research and development: declining investment, increasing need, and the feasibility of expansion. Energy Policy, 35, 746-755.

Nordensvard, J., Zhou, Y., & Zhang, X. (2018). Innovation core, innovation semi-periphery and technology transfer: The case of wind energy patents. Energy Policy, 120, 213-227.

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development – OECD. (2009). Patents as statistical indicators of science and technology. In Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development – OECD (Ed.), OECD patent statistics manual. Paris: OECD Publishing.

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development – OECD. (2011). Invention and transfer of environmental technologies (OECD Studies on Environmental Innovation). Paris: OECD Publishing.

Platzer, M. D. (2012). US wind turbine manufacturing: federal support for an emerging industry (CRS Report for Congress). Washington: Congressional Research Service.

Sadorsky, P. (2021). Wind energy for sustainable development: driving factors and future outlook. Journal of Cleaner Production, 289, 125779.

Sahu, K. S. (2018). Wind energy developments and policies in China: a short review. Renewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews, 81, 1393-1405.

Schleich, J., Walz, R., & Ragwitz, M. (2017). Effects of policies on patenting in wind-power technologies. Energy Policy, 108, 684-695.

Tsai, Y.-C., Huang, Y.-F., & Yang, J.-T. (2016). Strategies for the development of offshore wind technology for far-east countries: a point of view from patent analysis. Renewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews, 60, 182-194.

Urban, F., Zhou, Y., Nordensvard, J., & Narain, A. (2015). Firm-level technology transfer and technology cooperation for wind energy between Europe, China and India. Energy for Sustainable Development, 28, 29-40.

Valentine, S. V. (2011). Wind power politics and policy. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Valentine, S. V. (2015). Japanese wind energy development policy: grand plan or group think? Energy Policy, 39, 6842-6854.

Watson, S., Moro, A., Reis, V., Baniotopoulos, C., Barth, S., Bartoli, G., Bauer, F., Boelman, E., Bosse, D., Cherubini, A., Croce, A., Fagiano, L., Fontana, M., Gambier, A., Gkoumas, K., Golightly, C., Latour, M. I., Jamieson, P., Kaldellis, J., Macdonald, A., Murphy, J., Muskulus, M., Petrini, F., Pigolotti, L., Rasmussen, F., Schild, P., Schmehl, R., Stavridou, N., Tande, J., Taylor, N., Telsnig, T., & Wiser, R. (2019). Future emerging technologies in the wind power sector: a European perspective. Renewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews, 113, 109270.

World Intellectual Property Organization – WIPO. (2021). PCT Contracting states and two-letter codes. Retrieved in 2021, April 18, from

Xibao, L. (2012). Behind the recent surge of Chinese patenting: an institutional view. Research Policy, 41, 236-249.

Xu, J., & Li, L. (2016). Wind energy generation technological paradigm diffusion. Renewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews, 56, 436-449.

Yuan, J., Na, C., Xu, Y., & Zhao, C. (2015). Wind turbine manufacturing in China: a review. Renewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews, 51, 1235-1244.

Zhang, B., & Horvath, S. (2005). A general framework for weighted gene co-expression network analysis. Statistical Applications in Genetics and Molecular Biology, 4(1), e17. PMid:16646834.

Zhou, Y., Luckow, P., Smith, S. J., & Clarke, L. (2012). Evaluation of global onshore wind energy potential and generation costs. Environmental Science & Technology, 46(14), 7857-7864. PMid:22715929.

Submitted date:

Accepted date:

6173153aa9539552be61ce04 production Articles
Links & Downloads


Share this page
Page Sections