Big Wind Turbine Research Vital To Europe’s Energy & Climate Challenges, Says WindEurope CEO Giles Dickson

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Giles Dickson, the CEO of the European wind energy trade body, WindEurope, told representatives from the European Commission this week that continued research into developing ever-larger wind turbines is vital to future cost reductions which can lead to meeting European Climate and Energy objectives.

Speaking before representatives from the European Commission on Wednesday, Giles Dickson highlighted the urgent need for continued ambition to develop offshore wind technology so as to unlock the necessary cost reductions that will fully “unleash” Europe’s offshore wind energy potential which, in turn, will play a significant role in helping the European Union meet its Climate and Energy objectives.

Dickson spoke at an event marking the conclusion of the INNWIND.EU project, a five-year dedicated research program that sought to accelerate the development of wind energy technologies that would help unlock 20 MW (megawatt) wind turbines. The results of the program are many — including developing innovative rotor designs, drivetrain components, and fixed and floating substructures that serve to greatly reduce the Levelized Cost of Energy (LCoE) of offshore wind turbines between 10 MW and 20 MW.

But further innovation is necessary if the industry is to unlock its full potential. We know that 12 MW offshore wind turbines are on the near-horizon — and a year ago MHI Vestas unveiled its upgraded V164 wind turbine with a capacity of 9.5 MW. But more needs to be done, and offshore wind turbines need to get bigger — between 13 MW to 15 MW, if the European wind industry is to meet the necessary wind capacity figures of 70 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2030.

The wind energy resources are there, but in order to utilize the resources effectively we need to start using bigger wind turbines. Offshore winds are capable of moving turbines with much greater capacity, so relying on 8 MW wind turbines simply won’t cut it.

Giles Dickson’s message, therefore, was to focus supporting innovation.

“We need to mobilise the European research capacity of universities and public research institutes to help industry develop competitive technology and keep our edge over China, the US and India,” said Dickson.

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Joshua S Hill

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