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Record of the UKERC-supported Wind Energy Research Road Mapping meeting

Author(s) Commentary by Professor David Infield, University of Strathclyde
Abstract At the time of the meeting in March 2009, the plan was to produce a research road map to inform Government research spending in the wind field. A formal report was never produced due to lack of time and resources, and in many ways events have moved on since then, in that substantial research is presently underway now in the U K, after a long period when little publicly funded wind energy research was carried out. This change was driven by a combination of immediate and medium term needs and concerns of the growing UK commercial sector in the context of a Government commitment to meet much of the UK’s planned clean energy generation from wind. In parallel some UK companies and a number of overseas companies based in the UK are strengthening their wind research teams. Much of this effort, both in Industry and Universities is concentrated on the considerable and diverse challenges of offshore wind energy. In this context, it was considered useful to reflect on the deliberations of the experts who were encouraged to take a very open approach to where wind energy was, and should be, going. Many of the ideas noted are equally valid 3 years later and might provide inspiration to funding agencies like TSB, DECC, ETI, and Carbon Trust, which are all increasingly involved in wind energy, as well of course as EPSRC who continues to support the Wind Supergen programme. Although it is worth noting that, despite the enormous (multibillion) UK investment expected in on- and off-shore wind in the next decade or so, and the major science and engineering challenges that must be overcome before the UK’s Offshore Round 3 sites can be exploited, EPSRC has chosen not to plan further increases in the direct research support for wind which is presently modest. This is not because wind technology is demonstrably fully mature as I hope these notes will demonstrate. In fact wind energy is poised at a critical juncture where radically different designs are being proposed by manufacturers for large scale offshore application, and attempt to sidestep reliability problems with aspects of existing technology. These new designs are almost completely unproven and the engineering tools to design these with confidence do not exist. This can be seen in the intensive research activity at the Danish Technical University (DTU) ( now incorporating the Risø National Laboratory) which has focused on the combined challenges of : 1) scaling up the technology and 2) applying it offshore, and also their leadership role in EERA Wind, the wind part of the European Energy Research Alliance which seeks to deliver much of the EU’s R&D activity in this sector.
Download Record of the UKERC-supported Wind Energy Research Road Mapping meeting document type
Year 2013
Status Archived
Timescale Not clear
Geographic Coverage UK
Funder UKERC
Methods No Data Supplied
Stakeholder University based researchers Public sector researchers, Business - Technology, Government - Energy, Government - other
Document Structure No Data Supplied
Rights Not recorded