UpWind report greatly moves wind power research goalposts

» By | Published 16 Mar 2011

Developing a 20 MW wind turbine to meet Europe’s future green electricity needs requires dramatically innovative solutions, a panel session at the EWEA2011 Annual Event heard Tuesday in Brussels.

“A 20 MW wind turbine is calling for new solutions, thinking outside the box,” Henning Kruse, Chairman, Wind Energy Technology Platform, said at the panel session which looked at how wind power technology will develop in the coming decades.

The session acknowledged the publication earlier Tuesday of a new report from the EU-funded UpWind project, which found that 20 MW turbines — which would likely be used offshore — are feasible.

But Peter Hjuler Jensen, R&D Manager in Wind Energy at Risoe DTU, said Europe needs new turbine designs if it wants to wants to develop 20 MW machines and drive down costs.

Andrew Garrad, CEO of Garrad Hassan, said the UpWind project showed that “the key feature really is to focus on scientific thought to divorce yourself from the day-to-day reality.”

Nicolas Fichaux, of the International Renewable Energy Agency, said “the value of UpWind was to bring the industry together” and focus on a single direction.

UpWind is also a way of highlighting European research activities, said Jensen, adding the European wind sector should be much better in designing new materials for component parts.

Garrad said “predictability and controllability” are the key issues for the development of future wind turbine technology.

Henning compared future offshore wind turbine development to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration using research and knowledge to finally put a man on the Moon. “We need the man-on-the-Moon project to develop these bigger machines offshore.”

Stefan Tostmann, Head of Unit, Directorate-General for Energy, European Commission, congratulated the UpWind project. “This is surely a milestone,” he said, adding it is important that the wind power industry, researchers and the EC work together.

Read the report: www.ewea.org; www.upwind.eu