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WindEurope CEO tells Commission: research into big turbines will help solve Europe’s Energy and Climate challenges

Matthijs Soede, Research Programme Officer at European Commission, seen here holding 2 key project deliverables.

On 21 February WindEurope CEO Giles Dickson addressed representatives from the European Commission at an event marking the conclusion of the INNWIND.EU project. Dickson urged the Commission to develop a robust research strategy for Europe going forward, stating that projects like INNWIND.EU will help solve Europe’s Energy and Climate challenges.

The INNWIND.EU project sought to develop the conceptual design of beyond-state-of-the-art 10-20 MW offshore wind turbines and hardware demonstrators of their critical components. Developing such large turbines, Dickson said, will be key to unleashing Europe’s offshore wind energy potential and will help the EU meet its Climate and Energy objectives. Currently, Europe has 15.8 GW of offshore wind installed capacity, enough to meet 1.5% of its electricity demand. According to WindEurope’s central scenario, there could be 70 GW of offshore wind energy in Europe’s energy mix by 2030. This would meet 9.7% of Europe’s electricity consumption.

But to unlock this offshore potential, Dickson said, the wind energy sector must prioritise research and innovation on larger offshore wind turbines. This is largely because of the need for cost reduction in offshore wind. The industry has made significant strides towards lowering the LCOE in offshore wind – but the market will need to deliver 13 to 15 MW turbines if we are to achieve the cost reductions necessary to unleash Europe’s offshore wind potential.

To do this, Dickson said, “We need to mobilise the European research capacity of universities and public research institutes to help industry develop competitive technology and keep our edge over China, the US and India.”

This is precisely what the INNWIND.EU project was all about. After five years of dedicated research, the project has paved the way for the development of unprecedentedly large wind turbines. The INNWIND.EU project has developed several innovative rotor designs, drivetrain components and fixed and floating substructures that greatly reduce the Levelised Cost of Energy (LCOE) of offshore wind turbines be­tween 10 MW – 20 MW capacity.

The INNWIND.EU project brought together Europe’s top universities and research institutes, along with major industry players like Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy.  You can find out more about the INNWIND.EU project here.

To learn more about the outlook for offshore wind in Europe, see WindEurope’s Outlook to 2020 and Scenarios for 2030.

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