This week I attended the EERA JP Wind Annual Event 2019. The mission of EERA JP WIND is to provide strategic leadership for medium to long-term research and to support the European wind energy industry and societal stakeholders. The joint programme brings together all public research organisations in Europe with substantial research and innovation efforts in wind energy.

As well as hearing about the key challenges and research topics important to most of the sub-programmes, I also learned about some planned EU project proposals, discussed potential collaborations and gained some insights relevant for Swiss wind energy R&D. I am writing this article from the perspective of the brand new Swiss Wind Energy R&D Network, whose website wil be launched at the beginning of October, 2019.

Key challenges and research topics

The key challenges and research topics I heard about during the event are listed below. A further source of research prioirities can be found in a new publication, Results of IEA Wind TCP workshop on a Grand Vision for Wind Energy technology.

Research Infrastructure, testing and standards

  • A European distributed research infrastructure for offshore renewable energy.

  • Extension of test facilities by enabling digital communication.

  • Conformity assessment in IECRE.

Wind conditions and climatic effects

  • Efficient data sharing.

  • Uncertainty quantification of Annual Energy Production.

  • Surface characterisation.

  • Feedback of wind farm installations on resource and conditions.

  • Greater meteorological understanding of high impact phenomena.

  • Basic science on boundary-layer physics.

  • Climate change impact.

Aerodynamics, loads and control

  • Wake modelling: lack of engineering methods for control.

  • More experimental aerodynamic data needed.

  • Unsteady flow and dynamic stall: more understanding regarding the effect of fatigue loads needed.

  • Torsion and deflection of long, slender blades.

  • Hydrodynamic loading on structure and interaction with aerodynamic loads.

  • Control for lifetime and market integration (real field demonstration needed).

System integration

  • Utility-size combining wind and storage (implementation and demonstration).

  • Cost of transporting energy the long distance from turbine to shore (cables, power2gas).

Structures, materials and components

  • Digital twins and big data.

  • Lifetime management.

  • Robustness and reliability of sensors.

  • High-quality but low-cost data collection.

  • Repair and stiffening of structures and components for lifetime extension.

  • Involvement of whole value chain to improve reliability.

  • Rain erosion.

Planned EU project proposals

An offshore wind energy “lighthouse project” is being planned, with the overall goal of making floating offshore wind energy cost competitive by 2030, although it has not yet been decided exactly what the topic should be. Possibilities presented and discussed included:

  • An offshore floating demonstration project.

  • Building a hub island for hosting electrical infrastructure and hydrogen production / storage.

Additionally, a new EFSRI proposal for the 2021 roadmap is being planned. ESFRI, the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures, is a strategic instrument to develop the scientific integration of Europe and to strengthen its international outreach.

Insights relevant for Swiss wind energy R&D

The insights I gained that are relevant for Swiss wind energy R&D were:

  • The research priorities discussed above should be used in the further planning of Swiss wind energy R&D, especially in connection to any EU proposals.

  • A new process for SETWind funding of bilateral projects in the area of offshore wind energy has been launched. SETWind supports the SET-plan implementation plan for offshore wind energy. Anyone planning an EU proposal or bilateral project in the area of offshore wind energy should get in touch with me to discuss the process.

  • SETWind has also published a new offshore wind implementation plan, which can be downloaded here.

  • I would like to plan a Swiss presence in the proposed lighthouse project for offshore floating wind energy. If you are interested, please get in touch with me.

  • I would like to plan a Swiss presence in the ESFRI proposal for offshore wind energy research infrastructure, which has a deadline of May 2020. If you are interested in including your research infrastructure in this proposal, please get in touch with me.

  • Open data is a very hot topic. A new data sharing platform called ShareWind is available. Also, measurement data is available from the RAVE project. I would like to contribute with a Swiss Wind Energy Machine Learning Database - get in touch for more details.

  • More research wind turbines with open data are very much in demand, and I am planning a collaboration in this area. Get in touch if you are interested.

  • The combination of Power2Gas with offshore wind energy is another hot topic that Switzerland could potentially contribute to!

Further information

Further information will be available as soon as The Swiss Wind Energy R&D Network website is launched at the beginning of October.

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