European technology platform for wind energy makes R&D top priority

October 23, 2006

Brussels, 20 October 2006

Research and development (R&D) will be at the top of the agenda of the newly launched European Technology Platform for Wind Energy, says Arthourous Zevros, President of the European Energy association (EWEA), and Chair of the platform's advisory council.

Speaking at the official launch ceremony in Brussels on 19 October, Mr Zevros said that the platform would first map the priorities for wind energy research up to 2030, and would then direct public and private funding towards these targeted areas. Likely to receive priority are research into wind resources and site assessment, measurement and prediction; wind 'power plants', including turbine components, turbines, new wind farm concepts and small wind energy technology; and system integration.

'Wind energy is already a European success story but it is still just a shadow of what it could be. Long term R&D, and policy development to build markets must be undertaken if wind energy is to contribute to one fifth of the European electricity supply in the coming decades,' said Mr Zevros..

Europe's wind energy market is performing well. In 2005, more than 40,000 MW was installed, generating 2.6% of the EU's electricity. Leading the way in harnessing wind energy are Denmark, Germany, Greece, Ireland, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain which each get over 1% of their electricity from wind energy.

An important factor behind the growth of the European wind market has been strong policy support both at EU and at national level. The EU's Renewables Directive has been in place since 2001. It aims to increase the share of electricity produced from renewable energy sources (RES) in the EU to 21% by 2010, thus helping the Union reach the RES target of overall energy consumption of 12% by 2010. A RES Roadmap which is currently under preparation by the Commission is also expected to set ambitious targets for the wind energy sector.

EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs said that the new platform was an important and necessary step towards changing Europe's philosophy on energy. 'In the current context of climate crisis and energy uncertainty, we need to review the whole energy philosophy: we need to develop energy sources that do not use carbon, energy sources that are located in Europe, sources that are cost effective and competitive in the global market. This is the reason why this Technology Platform for wind energy is so important. It will lead to more wind energy in the future and we need it.

'I believe in wind energy and particularly in offshore wind. But there are still limitations linked to costs, to grid integration, etc. The wind sector needs a network and still needs R&D. I think that the platform will really make a difference. I'm happy that the Commission is supporting it,' said the Commissioner.

For more information http://www.windplatform.eu/

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