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BB200603, News in Brief

International Energy Agency calls on national governments to renew their support for renewable energy technology development

31.01.2007

International Energy Agency Executive Director, Claude Mandil has added his voice to the calls from all over Europe for increased, focused research into renewable energy technologies.

Speaking at the February 14 th launch of the new IEA report “Renewable Energy: RD&D Priorities, Insights from IEA Technology Programmes” Mr. Mandil stated:

“Countries must improve their market deployment strategies for renewable energy technologies and above all, increase targeted renewables RD&D - simultaneously ensuring continued cost-competitiveness. There is much at stake.”

This same approach – simultaneous focus on both market development and technology research - is the same as that taken by the European Technology Platform for Wind Energy, scheduled to begin operations later this year. The platform aims to bring together public and private stakeholders from throughout the wind energy sector, at both EU-wide and national levels to establish the must-haves in terms of long term and operational R&D.

The IEA publication points out that much of the present technology has been nourished by the RD&D stimulated by the oil price hikes of the 70s. Following these, IEA member countries’ energy RD&D budgets increased sharply, but by 1987 they had declined to about two-thirds of their peak level, and thereafter have stagnated.

The report recommends research priorities, drawing on studies, analyses and technology programmes carried out by the IEA technology network. It also reviews the trends in government RD&D spending and lists RD&D policies in IEA member countries. The report continues “Renewables can make major contributions to the diversity and security of energy supply, to economic development, and to addressing local environmental pollution. In addition, considerable attention has been attracted to their potential to address global warming.”

Each country has its own RD&D priorities based on its particular resource endowment, technology expertise, industrial strengths and energy markets. The report’s objective, mirrored by the wind energy technology platform, is to assist governments in prioritising their RD&D efforts for renewable energy. It concludes that successful RD&D programmes need to be better focused, and co-ordinated with both industry and international programmes.

Specifically for wind energy the report stresses the importance of exploring revolutionary new designs as well as the continuation of incremental improvements towards reductions in costs and uncertainty. Other priorities include deeper understanding of aerodynamics and extreme weather conditions, grid integration, forecasting, minimisation of environmental impacts and public support.

The report can be ordered at http://www.iea.org/bookshop/add.aspx?id=282  

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