As U.S. wind installations set records in recent years and made the U.S. the 2005 global leader in annual installations and cumulative capacity in 2008, China was building even greater momentum. In 2009, China surpassed the U.S. volume of new installations with 13,804 MW new capacity erected and became the overall leader in 2010 when it reached cumulative capacity of 44,733 MW compared to 40,180 MW in place in the U.S. Overall, China’s average wind growth rate averaged 104 percent per year over the last five years. In fact, four of the top 10 leading global suppliers of wind turbines now hail from China. This rapid growth in China is worth noting because while its industry leaders have grown thanks to very strong domestic growth, a few are now bidding on projects in the U.S. Time will tell if they are successful in affecting the dynamics of the U.S. wind market a few years down the road.

Oil: No Longer a Pipe Dream

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Composites usage is thriving nowadays in one of the more traditional forms of energy—crude oil production. Demand for glass-reinforced epoxy pipe in diameters ranging from 2 to 40 inches is registering over 20 percent growth in 2011 thanks to an oil drilling boom in the U.S. Not only is the overall rig rate approaching a high, but the number of drilling rigs searching for oil in the U.S. is the highest seen since 1987, according to Baker Hughes, Inc.

In early December 2011, there were 1,132 rigs employed to search for crude oil compared to 856 rigs drilling for natural gas. One year ago, there were 777 rigs drilling for oil in the U.S. and five years ago there wereoilbased fuels are soaring, putting the nation on track to become a net exporter of petroleum products in 2011 for the first time in 62 years. This healthy jump in domestic exploration and production comes from “unconventional reservoirs” of crude oil that were deemed too hard to crack until breakthroughs in drilling technology and high prices of oil led exploration companies to switch rigs from natural gas to oil.

Filament wound or centrifugally wound epoxy pipe is used for onshore and offshore corrosion control in a variety of low to high pressure oilfield applications. It also provides improved flow capacity because of the resinrich smooth interior and lowers installation costs because of the significant weight advantage versus steel tubing. Not only will it outlast competitive materials, composite pipe is typically a quarter to an eighth the weight of comparable steel pipe, making it easier, safer and less expensive to install.