R&D for wind energy
The need for investment in research and development
Huge progress has already been achieved in the past 25 years, but there is still a massive potential for cost reductions through market development and R&D for wind energy to reach its full potential for large-scale supply of electricity.
With its Europe 2020 Strategy, the EU is committed to increasing the European R&D effort to 3% of its GDP. The main EU-level tool for support of R&D activities is the multi-annual "Framework programme for research and technological development", managed by the European Commission.
The current programme, FP7, runs till 2013 with a total budget of €50.521 billion. From this, a non-nuclear energy R&D budget of €2.35 billion allocates 50% to renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. According to DG Research, which manages the programme along with DG ENER, the share of the EU contribution to wind energy technology R&D during 2007-2011 was only 4,6% of the non-nuclear energy R&D budget, amounting to €88 million.
The European Commission’s Energy Roadmap 2050 estimates that:
- renewables will account for 55 to 75% of Europe’s energy consumption and up to 97% of electricity consumption and
- wind energy will be the leading technology, providing 32-49% of Europe’s electricity demand by 2050.
The allocations to wind technology R&D through the EU’s future framework programme Horizon 2020 (2014-2020) must reflect this: renewable energy sources should receive a minimum two-thirds share of the non-nuclear energy R&D budget and wind research should be financed through a dedicated budget line.
European Wind Energy Technology Platform
EWEA manages the European Wind Energy Technology Platform (TPWind), a network of researchers and wind R&D stakeholders and experts formulating recommendations for EU wind technology R&D policy and funding. TPWind published its Strategic Research Agenda, as well as the European Wind Initiative (EWI) in the framework of the Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET-Plan), in which the European Commission identified wind energy as a strategic energy technology that contributes to all of the EU’s energy policy 2020 objectives: increased competitiveness, energy security and fighting climate change.
The European Commission has recognised that the implementation of this strategy requires €6 billion of public and private resources between 2010-2020. The Industry is ready to finance 52% of this, 17% should be provided through national funding schemes and the remaining 31% should come from the EU budget. In the future financial framework 2014-2020 this represents €1.3bn, which should be funded by Horizon 2020 in a dedicated Budget line. The right EU contribution would leverage private investments and accelerate the process towards reaching the EU 2020 climate and energy targets.