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Preview of EWEA 2013

ewea13EWEA Annual Events routinely attract thousands of participants. EWEA 2013 will be no exception, especially as there will be a special focus this year on emerging markets, a topic of the utmost interest to all in the wind industry. Keynote speakers include the Irish and Turkish energy ministers, as well as the economy minister from the host country, Austria. Ireland will hold the Presidency of the EU in 2013, Turkey is the epitome of an ‘emerging market’ for wind energy and Austria hopes to get 71% of its electricity from renewable energy by 2020. The event will take place in Vienna, the gateway between the established wind energy markets and the new opportunities in the east.

As well as some additional activities focusing on emerging markets, conference delegates at EWEA 2013 will be well catered for on the technical side. The conference programme has six tracks in total, three of which are devoted to technical issues – Resource assessment, Hardware technology and Science & research. The other tracks are Policies & markets, Integration in electricity systems and markets, and Financing. The sheer number of learning opportunities each day of the conference is staggering – just one of the tracks, Hardware technology, features 40 speakers over the four days, all of whose abstracts were vetted by a committee of specialists. EWEA events focus on translating ideas, experiences and theory into real, practical applications. The event’s aim is to give delegates useful knowledge and tools to take away, develop and implement. Apart from the presentations, some of the freshest ideas will be found during the Poster Session, an informal way to learn and meet the people behind the concepts.

Each track is chaired by experts in that field. Jan van der Tempel, CEO of Ampelmann, a company that builds ship-based self-stabilising platforms, will host the Hardware technology track. He is also Head of the Offshore Wind group at Delft University of Technology. His field of expertise is offshore foundation design, an area where he has developed new design methodologies. Together with his group he is currently working on the Slip Joint connection to replace grout, and on a novel turbine concept using sea water as an energy transportation medium.

‘From Opportunity to Reality is the theme of this conference. For the track “Hardware technology” that means: Innovation with Impact! The sessions in this track cover technological breakthroughs in hardware from full-scale blades to control software, from nuts and bolts to drive-trains. The focus of the session is on the demonstration of innovations in the field: proving increased cost-effectiveness, decreasing cost, optimising uptime.’ (Jan van der Tempel)

Peter Tavner, President of the European Academy of Wind Energy, is chairing the Science & research track at EWEA 2013. He is also Emeritus Professor at Durham University. He has held senior research, development and technical positions in the power, electrical manufacturing and wind industry. He has been a vigorous exponent and researcher into wind power reliability over the past ten years and is active in researching and developing high reliability techniques for the industry aimed at lowering the cost of energy from wind power.

‘EWEA 2013’s Science & research track will concentrate on the opportunities that grow from turning research ideas into practical reality. As in previous years the track will showcase the best of current wind industry research. However, this year the aim will also be to demonstrate how science and research can propagate innovative and beneficial ideas into the industry. In particular, the sessions will address the important issues of reducing design and build and operating costs, based upon feedback from EWEA2012. Drive-trains and improved energy extraction will be leading topics. The track will also cover innovations in materials and components as well as addressing the rapid changes that are occurring in small wind.’ (Peter Tavner)

The third track concerned with technical issues is Resource assessment. Track Chair Lars Landberg, Senior Vice President, R&D, Forecasting, Training at GL Garrad Hassan, aims to promote the knowledge exchange.

‘EWEA 2013 is going to be another must-attend event. As the global leader in wind energy conferences, EWEA 2013 will continue its focus on the essential meeting between knowledge, industry and commerce. The prominent place that wind resources have been given again this year demonstrates that this is still one of the most crucial subjects to explore. The seven sessions will update the participants with the latest and most important developments.’ (Lars Landberg)

EWEA recently sat down with the EWEA 2013 Lead Session Chairs to find out what they see for the future of wind energy and what will be discussed at the event. Hot topics of discussion included turbine size and transportation of large turbine components, especially for offshore and public acceptance issues. Speakers were excited about technological developments that the future holds and are yet to be discovered.

Challenges still remain for the onshore wind energy sector – like designing the right turbine for remote or mountainous regions, and continually improving turbine efficiency – but most of the excitement was directed towards the offshore wind sector, in particular floating offshore. The speakers seemed to agree that commercial floating offshore wind farms would be up and running by 2020 or 2022.
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