Thursday, July 31, 2008

Roadmap to the future

Earlier this month the U.S. Department of Energy issued a report that describes how the country could generate 20% of its electricity by the year 2030. Not to be outdone, the European Wind Energy Association has just released a roadmap that puts the European Union on a path to generate 28% of its electricity from wind by 2030.

Offshore wind plays a major role in both scenarios.

This is very encouraging news. Not only have we identified viable options for averting climate change, we're actually taking bold steps to implement them.

But the world will need to commit to a many more serious efforts in the areas of energy efficiency, conservation, smart growth and renewable energy deployment to minimize the adverse impacts of climate change.

Roadmap for EU wind energy predicts 180 GW capacity by 2020

New Energy Focus
July 30, 2008

The EU wind industry has drawn up a new roadmap laying out research and development needed to see wind farm capacity in Europe growing to 180GW by 2020.

The European Technology Platform for Wind Energy (TPWind) said wind power could account for a quarter of all European electricity supply by 2030.

It has published a new Strategic Research Agenda and Market Deployment Strategy, which sets out priorities for efforts to bring down the costs of wind energy to compete with other sources of electricity.

The research agenda sets priorities for themes including wind conditions and forecasting, wind turbine technology as well as offshore deployment and operation.

It seeks to improve current techniques so that predictions can be made with an uncertainty of less than 3% concerning annual energy production of prospective wind farms and the weather or wave conditions for which an onshore or offshore wind farm must be designed to cope.

Predicting ever larger wind turbines, the agenda suggests priorities for research into the design of new technology, including issues like mechanical strength, reliability and generation efficiencies.

The TPWind strategy lays out new research and developments needed as a new generation of turbines are installed like this Siemens 3.6MW "Direct Drive" system set up at Ringkøbing in Denmark this month

The research should also look at transmission arrangements, including the development of new grids or "super-grids" and the alleviation of grid "bottlenecks" holding up the connection of new wind farms.

The Market Deployment Strategy looks into how to remove barriers in the European electricity markets that hold back wind farm developments.

Priorities include sorting out grid access and researching the range of skills that will be needed in the industry to meet the 2020 and 2030 goals.


The Strategy predicts three phases for the development of European wind energy. A first phase up to 2020 sees the market maturing in Western Europe and expanding into central and Eastern Europe with a "large" deployment offshore.

A second, "medium-term" phase from 2020 to 2030 will see wind energy maturing future, with cost reductions and technology improvements allowing deep offshore installations and growing exports from Europe.

A third, long-term phase from 2030 to 2050 will see Europe continuing to export wind power technology to the rest of the world, with most activity within Europe being the "re-powering" of older turbines.


TP Wind, which is coordinated by the European Wind Energy Association, was set up in 2006 with the backing of the European Commission to help the development of wind power in Europe.

Commenting on the new research agenda and market deployment strategy, TPWind chairman Henning Kruse said: "TPWind's vision and action plan for research, as presented in the SRA, are hugely important steps forward for the future deployment of wind energy in Europe.

"The time has now come to begin putting the action plan to effect, and for this the support of the European Commission and Member States will make all the difference," said Mr Kruse, who is also senior export manager at Siemens Wind Power.


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