Introduction to the European Technology Platform for Wind Energy (TPWind)
The European Technology Platform for Wind Energy (TPWind) is the indispensable forum for the crystallisation of policy and technology research and development pathways for the wind energy sector, as well as an opportunity for informal collaboration among Member States including those less developed in terms of wind energy.
Wind energy is the leading renewable energy technology. Given the right support it could provide up to 34% of EU electricity by 2030 (based on EWEA and EC projections). However, this target will not be achieved if the sector and policy makers think with short term objectives. Long-term, strategic action in technology and policy research are fundamental: TPWind facilitates the development of effective, complementary national and EU policy to build markets as well as a collaborative strategy for technology development. Its ultimate aim is to achieve cost reductions to ensure the full competitiveness of wind power, both onshore and offshore.
TPWind is composed of stakeholders from industry, government, civil society, R&D Institutions, finance organisations and the wider power sector, at both Member State and EU level. It is the only body with sufficient representation or “critical mass” of wind-specific knowledge and experience to be able to fully understand and map realistic and prioritised pathways for policy and technology R&D, taking into account the full range of sector needs.
The first TPWind members (active over the 2007 – 2010 period) were selected by the Paltform’s Steering Committe through an open “call for expression of interest” launched in 2007.
Current TPWind members, who will compose the Platform over the 2010 – 2013 period, were selected by the Steering Committee through a new “call for expression of interest” open from July to October 2010.
The main deliverables of the Platform so far are the following:
– The Strategic Research Agenda / Market Deployment Strategy (SRA/MDS), which outlines the main R&D challenges faced by the EU wind energy sector (first published in 2008 and updated in 2014);
– The European Wind Initiative (EWI), a long-term, large-scale Programme for improving and increasing funding to EU wind energy R&D. The EWI, which is rooted in the EU Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET-Plan), was published by the European Commission in 2009 and is now being implemented by EU Institutions, Member States, TPWind and the European Energy Research Alliance (EERA). The budget of the EWI for the 2010 – 2020 period is 6bn euros (public and private resources);
– The training report, looking at the skills gap in the EU wind energy sector and at policies to tackle it (published in 2013).
The objective of TPWind is to identify areas for increased innovation, new and existing research and development tasks. These will then be prioritised on the basis of “must haves” versus “nice to haves,” the primary objective being overall (social, environmental and technological) cost reductions. This will help to achieve EU objectives in terms of renewable electricity production. The Platform will develop coherent recommendations, detailing specific tasks, approaches, participants and the necessary infrastructure, in the context of private R&D, as well as EU and Member State Programmes, such as FP7. TPWind will also assess the overall funding available to carry out this work, from public and private sources.
The European Wind Energy Technology Platform’s Secretariat received EU financial support through the 6th Framework Programme (Windsec project; 2007 – 2010 period) and the 7th Framework Programme (TOP Wind project; 2011 – 2014 period).