Platform to boost wind-energy research

Led by industry and supported by the EU, the new technology platform will seek to map out priorities for wind-energy research up to 2030 and to direct funding into targeted areas such as offshore wind and grid integration.

“I believe in wind energy and particularly in offshore wind. But there are still limitations linked to costs and to grid integration,” said EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs at the platform’s opening ceremony in Brussels on 19 October.

“In the current context of climate crisis and energy uncertainty, we need to review the whole energy philosophy,” Piebalgs added, saying that research would help Europe keep its lead in the sector and shield it from volatile oil and gas prices. European manufacturers currently represent more than 80% of global industry turnover.

For the President of the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA), Arthouros Zervos, the final objective is to have wind energy “contribute to one fifth of the European electricity supply in the coming decades”.

At the end of 2005, wind energy contributed some 2.6% of the EU’s electricity production with more than 40,000 megawatts (MW) installed in Europe out of 47,000 MW worldwide, according to Commission and EWEA figures. Industry wants to bring the EU figure to 75,000 MW by 2010, an “ambitious target” according to Piebalgs, which would make up half of what is needed to meet the EU’s 2010 target on renewable electricity.

MEP Mechtild Rothe (Germany, PES) also stressed the challenges ahead for the wind industry. “Germany’s phasing out of nuclear power means that 33 billion kilowatt hours will have to be replaced by 2010,” she told the European Parliament earlier this year.

The technology platform is expected to agree on a joint-research agenda and deployment strategy during the course of 2007. A conference on the large scale integration of wind power will take place in Brussels from 7-8 November.

The Commission is currently preparing a road map for renewable energies that is expected in January next year.

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