Wind energy is competitive

Thursday 13 Nov 14
This year, DTU's annual energy report focuses on wind energy. The market is growing, but there is a need for technological development, more recycling and strong support from the authorities to achieve the goals of increasing wind energy's share of the total energy supply.

The past ten years has seen the global supply of wind energy grow by an average of 20 per cent. This growth will probably continue, which would also be welcomed by the authorities: Denmark's target is to have 50 per cent of its energy supply covered by wind power by 2050. The European target is that wind energy must account for more than 30 per cent of the EU's total electricity consumption by 2030.

A number of technological advances have paved the way for wind power—an industry which currently employs more than 800,000 people worldwide. The advances include larger wind turbines, lighter materials and far more efficient wind turbines. This means that wind energy generated in areas with good wind conditions, e.g. coastal areas, can now compete with fossil fuel-based energy.

In its new energy report, 'DTU International Energy Report 2014—Wind Energy', DTU points out that there are a number of barriers to wind energy that must be overcome for Denmark to meet its target of 50 per cent wind energy by 2050.

Henning Kruse, Director Government Affairs in Siemens Wind Power and Chairman of the Danish Wind Industry Association, says:

"It is important that we demonstrate to the world that we can reach 50 per cent or more, as this provides excellent Danish export opportunities."
Henning Kruse, Director Government Affairs in Siemens Wind Power and Chairman of the Danish Wind Industry Association.

"The government's target is definitely within reach. And it is important that we demonstrate to the world that we can reach 50 per cent or more, as this provides excellent Danish export opportunities. However, it requires that we maintain political focus on positive framework conditions for the wind industry. Denmark has very strong competencies within research, development, production and wind turbine testing. But if one of the legs falls away, so will the others. In this context, the wind energy report is an effective tool as it provides a status on the progress made in realizing the Danish target, and which areas we need to focus on," he says.

The report also recommends that the authorities focus more on setting up stable framework conditions for the sector to achieve a sufficiently higher share of wind energy:

"Adapting our energy systems to accommodate large volumes of fluctuating wind power remains a challenge. It may be necessary to store electricity on a large scale if we are to achieve the target," saysVice Dean Hans Hvidtfeldt Larsen, from DTU National Laboratory for Sustainable Energy.

In addition, the electricity generated by offshorewind turbines must be made cheaper, as this holds the largest growth potential. The producers are well on the way to reducing costs by 40 per cent by 2020, but—according to the report—the industry must also work towards actual mass production of wind turbines and increased recycling of end-of-life wind turbines.

Highly skilledemployees in the wind turbine industry are in short supply, so targeted initiatives are required within the fields of education and research. According to the report, the research efforts should also focus on the development of new technologies and support wind industry innovation.

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