Industry-wide, EU-Funded Wind Project Under Way

More than 100 wind energy specialists gathered in Brussels to kick off the largest ever long-term wind energy research project to receive funding from the EU.

UpWind is an Integrated Project — a type of financing instrument introduced under the Sixth Framework Program for R&D (FP6) — that involves some 40 manufacturers, service providers, universities, research organizations and other professional organizations, who will explore and resolve design limits for very large wind turbines to be built after 2010. The initiation of the UpWind project comes after years of planning by the wind energy sector. With a budget exceeding Euro 22 million and European Commission (EC) funding of more than Euro 14 million, UpWind is the flagship of European collaborative research into wind turbine development, and is the result of a two-year proposal process. It will last five years. UpWind will open up new technological opportunities to help the wind energy sector step forward toward cost parity with the most cost-effective energy sources, via new and more efficient turbine design methods. The project visualizes machines of up to 20 MW each. Long-term commitment from EU and national R&D programs has been instrumental in the dominance of the European industry, yet support for wind energy R&D under the Sixth Framework Program was severely reduced. The sector responded by establishing a Think Tank on IPs, led by the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA), which called for the inclusion of an integrated project for wind energy in the third call of FP6. “We are very glad that UpWind has had such a good start. It is the largest project of its kind and yet it represents just a tiny proportion of the work that has to be done. We hope to see a lot more projects like this,” said EWEA’s Hugo Chandler. “Integration Work Packages” were specifically designed to develop synergies among the distinct, scientific strands of the research, reflecting the EC’s objective in introducing this kind of project — to bring stakeholders to work closer together, and share their findings. “The project is going to be a great challenge,” said Peter Hjuler Jensen of Riso National Laboratory, who heads the project, “the work will be divided into 15 work packages, each involving a different aspect of research, and each very complicated, so we had to innovate a lot in the management practices.”
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