New Report Calls for Expansion in Wind Energy Research

More longer term research into wind energy is vital if the technology is to become competitive, according to a new report presented at the 2002 Global Windpower Conference in Paris.

PARIS, France – April 11, 2002 [] “There is an urgent need for stronger, publicly-supported long-term research to complement the product development already carried out within the industry,” said Jorgen Lemming, chairman of the Implementing Agreement, which published the report. “This basic research is essential for both industry and society.” The report indicates that, although costs have already fallen dramatically, if wind energy is going to supply 10 percent of the world’s electricity needs by 2020, cost reductions in the technology of 30 percent to 50 percent are still necessary. This will enable wind power to compete with conventional energies head to head. Research and development work could contribute up to 40 percent of those cost reductions. The study brought together 17 countries, as well as the European commission, to identify the required wind energy research. The results will need to become available in the mid-term (5-10 years) and long term (10-20 years). In the mid-term time frame, R&D areas of major importance for the future deployment of wind energy include forecasting techniques, grid integration, public attitudes and visual impact. The report concludes that R&D to develop forecasting techniques will increase the value of wind energy by allowing electricity production to be forecast from 6 to 48 hours in advance; R&D to facilitate integration of wind generation into the electrical grid and on demand side management will be essential when large quantities of electricity from wind will need to be transported; R&D to provide information on public attitudes and visual impact of wind developments will be necessary to incorporate such concerns into the deployment process for new locations for wind energy, especially offshore. For the long-term time frame, the report says that it is vital for R&D to help improve the way in which wind turbines interact with the grid infrastructure. The report concludes: adding intelligence to the complete wind system and allowing it to interact with other energy sources will be essential in areas of large-scale deployment; R&D to improve electrical storage techniques for different time scales (minutes to months) will increase the value of wind energy at penetration levels above 15 percent to 20 percent.
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