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Research & innovation

5 priorities for wind energy research and innovation

© European Union

“… I [therefore] want Europe’s Energy Union to become the world number one in renewable energies”
My five priorities for the EU – Jean-Claude Juncker – President of the European Commission

Over the last 10 years, the wind industry has matured at a fast pace, achieving significant cost reduction by constantly innovating. WindEurope believes there can be further cost reduction through a better allocation of EU research and innovation funds. The European Technology and innovation Platform (etipwind.eu) which has been set up to address this issue has identified the 5 pillars of R&I for wind energy:

  • Grid systems, integration and infrastructure: Developing wind energy capabilities to fit a grid with significant shares of renewable energy
  • Operation and Maintenance: More and further enhanced sensors enabling more reliable and efficient operation and maintenance of turbines, improving yields and optimising lifetime.
  • Industrialisation: Developing the value chain and facilitating the interaction between stakeholders notably through standardisation to achieve economies of scale and faster production.
  • Offshore balance of plant: Exploring new areas for offshore wind and making it competitive with conventional generation through the improvement of substructures and foundations, site access, offshore grid infrastructure, assembly and installation.
  • Next Generation technologies: Consolidating the scientific base for wind research and enabling pioneering research to lead to breakthroughs.

First-mover advantage in offshore wind

Europe has a first-mover advantage in technological leadership in offshore wind power globally. Investments in R&I from private companies and governments are second to none in the world. The export potential of technology and skills is huge.
Technological improvements achieved in the industry are significant: one wind turbine today can generate the energy of the entire world’s first offshore wind farm. The scale of offshore wind projects makes their power output akin to traditional power plants.

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