IEA Wind News

Press release: Grand challenges in the science of wind energy

By Charlotte Linde posted Oct 16, 2019 14:27

IEA Wind TCP has promoted an international effort to identify the main challenges in the science of wind energy. This collaborative effort involving scientist from 19 organizations has culminated in a new journal article published in Science magazine. The key innovation and research areas have been identified, that will underpin wind energy’s continued progress towards becoming the primary global source of low-cost electricity generation.

A group of wind energy researchers, from the U.S., Germany, Denmark, Finland, Spain, Sweden and Norway, have, in an article in Science magazine, addressed three challenges that will drive the innovation needed for wind to become the world’s primary source of low-cost electricity generation.

IEA Wind TCP, which is an international energy agency wind technology collaboration programme, has played a major role during the last decades in the coordination and facilitation of international research on wind energy, which has supported the rapid growth of wind energy. Despite the technology and market maturity achieved by wind energy and the significant cost reductions realized during recent years, there is still the potential and the need to go further.

Three grand challenges to unlock the full potential of wind energy
The first grand challenge Improved understanding of wind resources and flow where wind power plants operate addresses the need to operate in new atmospheric conditions as wind energy expands, both geographically and in terms of wind turbine size. Tackling this challenge will enable a more effective deployment and effective use of wind energy conversion technologies worldwide.

The second grand challenge Addressing the structural and system dynamics of the largest rotating machines in the world focuses on removing the obstacles to going beyond state of the art wind turbines, accelerating the path towards larger wind turbines by addressing loads, materials, manufacturing and logistics, amongst other key topics. 

The third grand challenge Designing and operating wind power plants to support and foster grid reliability and resiliency tackles the need to develop research that enables wind energy to be a backbone technology of the future electricity system, where responding to evolving grid requirements will demand innovative controls and advanced services.

Work together to address wind energy challenges
As technology, operational and grid conditions evolve, new solutions have to be developed to respond to the market needs. In this context further research and innovation are required in the three grand challenges to unlock the full potential of wind energy in a competitive low carbon and evolving energy system.
John McCann, Chairman IEA Wind TCP said:

”IEA Wind TCP has promoted the work to identify the grand challenges in wind energy and will contribute to effectively tackling those grand challenges by facilitating multidisciplinary and international collaboration”

“IEA Wind TCP involves 26 contracting parties from 21 member countries, the Chinese Wind Energy Association (CWEA), the European Commission, and WindEurope (formerly the European Wind Energy Association) collaborating on international research projects” the Chairman says and continues:

“The aim of IEA Wind TCP is to bring together the best organizations within the field of wind energy research and to collaborate across borders.”