There are no quick fixes to long-term energy challenges. To find solutions, governments and industry benefit from sharing resources and accelerating results. For this reason the IEA enables independent groups of experts - the Energy Technology Initiatives, or ETIs1.
Electricity from land-based wind is cost-competitive, particularly when emissions are factored into conventional fuel prices. Offshore wind projects have the potential to greatly increase wind’s contribution if the cost can be reduced. To capture the potential of wind on land and offshore, electricity networks will need upgrading to accommodate the capacity and to manage the added variability. Increasing the contribution of wind requires R&D to reduce cost and increase performance. In particular, work is needed to understand the complex forces acting on offshore wind turbines, to improve wind modelling for design and integration of wind plants into the grid, and to explore new materials for turbines in offshore and cold environments.
The mission of the ETI focusing on wind (Wind) is to stimulate co-operation on wind energy R&D and to provide high-quality information and analysis to member governments and industry leaders. This is achieved by assessing recent technology developments, deployment best practice, market uptake, and policy instruments. There are 21 Contracting parties, including Mexico, and two Sponsors.
The Wind Recommended Practices (RP) are pre-normative standards that quickly respond to needs in the wind sector. They are drafted by participants in the Wind research projects and widely reviewed by experts in the field. They guide R&D and deployment until official standards bodies are able to complete their work.
By 2010, 11 such RP were issued. The rigorous review and approval process for each RP addresses key issues using a common approach. As a result, the wind industry, researchers, governments, and policy makers find them very useful.
Since 2010, four new RP have been guiding R&D activities: consumer labelling of small wind turbines; wind energy projects in cold climates; public acceptance of wind energy projects; and the use of remote sensing for wind resource assessment.
For example, the RP for Wind Energy Projects in Cold Climates recommends that planners, operators, authorities, insurers, and investors use an established risk evaluation method to determine the kind of risks a wind turbine installation in colder climates will face and the take the necessary measures to avoid or decrease these risks.
For example, the RP presents a classification system of icing conditions at wind energy sites that provides wind power developers with an early understanding of the severity and consequences of site selection.
Other RPs under development include conducting integration studies, estimating the cost of wind energy, and conducting model benchmark studies.
* Photo courtesy of Lars Tallhaug.
For more information: www.ieawind.org
1.Information or material of the IEA Energy Technology Initiatives, or ETIs (formally organised under the auspices of an Implementing Agreement), including information or material published on this website, does not necessarily represent the views or policies of the IEA Secretariat or of the IEA’s individual Member countries. The IEA does not make any representation or warranty (express or implied) in respect of such information (including as to its completeness, accuracy or non-infringement) and shall not be held liable for any use of, or reliance on, such information.