Science Gazette

To meet climate goals, Europe needs to increase its wind R&D spending

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The European Technology and Innovation Platform for Wind Energy, also known as ETIPWind, has begun the next phase of its operation, which will last for three years. ETIPWind is an initiative that promotes the alignment, coordination, and prioritization of Research and Innovation (R&I) policies in Europe that are connected to wind energy. At a ceremony held this month in Brussels, representatives from the industry, researchers, academic institutions, and policymakers all came together to announce the new three-year cycle.

The European Commission plans to increase the amount of wind power from its current level of 190 GW to 510 GW by the year 2030. Strategic expenditures in research and development for wind power will be essential in this regard. They will encourage the technological advancements that are necessary to accomplish the goals set by the EU. These investments provide support for the European supply chain, make it easier to use resources in a more circular fashion, and guarantee that we will develop the technology necessary to incorporate an increasing proportion of renewable electricity into the energy grid.

Wind power is a significant contributor to Europe’s economy, and the continent’s industry is among the most advanced in the world. But we can’t just take this information at face value. Maintaining industrial leadership in terms of innovation and competitiveness will call for unwavering support of research and development. In other more developed industries, such as aviation and automotive manufacturing, the EU is aware of this reality. These industries would not be as thriving as they are today if they did not receive continuous support for research and development as well as industrial strategy. But research and development funding for wind energy has been cut in recent years. The European Union (EU) assures that cutting-edge wind energy technology will continue to be researched and manufactured in Europe by investing in research and development (R&D).

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Sustainability is one of the domains in which R&I has the potential to make a significant impact. The use of wind power should be done in a way that is environmentally responsible and harmonious with both the natural world and human culture. The subject of recycling is a significant one here. Today, recycling processes already account for 85–90% of the entire mass of contemporary wind turbines. However, the wind industry is working toward the development of completely circular turbines. Already, significant steps have been taken in this direction by the industry, such as the introduction of blades that can be recycled.

Integration of energy systems is yet another important issue to consider. Our power systems will need to undergo significant expansion in order to accommodate the vast amounts of renewable energy that will be fed into them. The offshore grid presents a significant engineering challenge and will make use of emerging technologies such as high-voltage direct current (HVDC). However, the onshore grid also needs significant expansion, which necessitates the development of inventive alternatives. Additionally, the grid will be supplemented by storage solutions such as huge batteries or hydrogen that is produced from renewable sources.

The Chief Executive Officer of WindEurope, Giles Dickson, stated that more money needed to be invested in research and development in Europe for the wind business. At this time, we are seeing the opposite. There will be less money coming from the government. However, the industry is facing severe technological hurdles, the solutions to which can only be found through further research. The European Union hopes to see a significant increase in wind energy. They need to demonstrate their commitment to this by actively contributing to the advancement of technology in Europe.

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