Kristian Ruby presenting at the event

Maintaining wind energy’s global leadership through research and innovation

Tuesday 03 Nov 15

On 28 September 2015, the annual conference of IRPWind took place in Amsterdam and EWEA’s Chief Policy Officer Kristian Ruby delivered a keynote speech on research and innovation (R&I). The main points from the conference are summarized below.

Europe is still at the forefront when it comes to know-how on wind energy. This particularly applies to the offshore market where Europe accounts for 92% of global installed offshore capacity. However, other countries have stepped up their efforts. Close collaboration between industry and research institutions as well as the EU’s R&I budget, Horizon 2020, are therefore key in asserting Europe’s current leading position.

The Horizon2020 (H2020) programme helps to meet European R&I needs and equips the EU for the global race. Spanning seven years (2014 – 2020) and working with a budget of €77bn, H2020 is the biggest EU research funding programme ever. Compared to previous R&I funding schemes of the EU, it now provides more money to non-nuclear energy research (€5.6 billion against the €3.8 billion allocated from the 7th Framework Programme and the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme together).

In October 2015, the second H2020 adopted Work Programme (WP) for 2016-2017 was published. It offers nearly €16bn, out of which €723 million go to competitive low-carbon energy. Other sub-programmes and priorities also fund R&I for renewable energy, for example, a dedicated instrument supporting small and medium size enterprises (SME) with € 740 million and the European Research Council (ERC) with €1.7bn.

Next to onshore wind deployment, offshore wind is one of the key priorities for the 2016-2017 WP calls. Studies show that investing in offshore wind could contribute to decarbonise the energy sector at a cost of €4bn lower than a nuclear scenario (Ernst & Young March 2015). With 10 GW installed (including 2 GW this year alone), the EU dominates the offshore wind market today.



Fig.: Installed capacity of offshore wind, 2014   

Europe-based manufactures accounted for 39% of all wind turbines produced in the world in 2014. In comparison, China-based manufactures accounted for 33%, and US-based manufactures for 10%.

Although Europe remains a major green investor with $4.3 bn in 2014, China is poised to lead in R&I by 2019, also due to the surge in government investments in renewable energy R&I (BNEF and OECD).  

For more information, please contact Edit Lulu Nielsen