Wind Energy Experts Present the Industry and Academia Research Priorities at ZF Wind Power Factory.

The European Technology & Innovation Platform on wind energy (ETIPWind)  released a new Strategic R&I Agenda for the period 2025-2027. It calls for €1.8bn of public investment in wind energy R&I to support the development of a resilient, affordable and sustainable European supply chain.

Picture: ETIPWind – All rights reserved.

On 4 December 38 Chief Technology Officers, wind energy experts and policymakers met in Lommel, Belgium at the ZF Wind Power factory to present the new ETIPWind Strategic R&I Agenda (SRIA). The document is the result of one year of work from more than 190 wind energy industry experts and the research and academia community.

The European Union wants 420 GW of wind energy by 2030, up from 205 GW today. To deliver that Europe needs to strengthen and expand its wind supply chain. That is why the European Commission recently launched the Wind Power Action Plan setting out 15 actions to strengthen Europe’s wind energy industry.

The sector faces major hurdles as it not only looks to scale up and expand its European manufacturing capacity, but also cover the workforce it needs and to meet the expectations on sustainability and coexistence from society at large.

Research & Innovation (R&I) can help to address many of these challenges. The ETIPWind Strategic R&I agenda therefore defines 23 R&I priorities for 2025-2027 which support the following objectives:

  • Accelerate the industrialisation and restore the competitiveness of the supply chain;
  • Optimise and further digitalise the Operations & Maintenance of the assets;
  • Achieve a faster and wider wind energy system integration;
  • Develop a sustainable and circular wind energy supply chain;
  • Attract a skilled workforce and ensure a happy coexistence with society.

ETIPWind estimates that the total public investment (EU and national) needed to effectively address these priorities would amount to €1.8bn for the 2025-2027 period. Which means that the level of public investments in wind energy R&I needs to double compared to today.  

The SRIA launching event, hosted in one of the factories of the leading gearbox manufacturer ZF Wind Power, can’t come soon enough as the EU prepares for the next calls for projects under HorizonEurope, its flagship research and innovation programme, and it starts discussions on its successor framework programme.

Bernd Biervert,Head of Unit in DG Research & Innovation at European Commission said: “The ETIPWind’s Strategic R&I Agenda is a very timely and valuable input for the European Commission in the co-creation process of the next Horizon Europe Work Programmes”.

Johan Hanssens (Secretary General for Economy, Science & Innovation at the Flemish Ministry of Economy, Innovation, Work, Social Economy and Agriculture) added that “Transformative Innovation towards sustainability relies on close cooperation between policy makers, academia and industry. The proposed ETIPWind’s R&I Agenda will help to align the visions between the actors and to design better policies”.  

Policymaker interventions were followed by a panel discussion with representatives from DTU Wind, LM Wind Power, Ørsted, SAIPEM, Shell and Van Oord. The European Commission closed the event presenting the EU funding tools that can help to support wind energy R&I.

Participants of the event also visited the construction site of the new state-of-the-art ZF Test and Prototype Center which houses a test rig capable to validate complete powertrain systems for both onshore and offshore wind turbines. “Extensive validation is the foundation of ZF’s innovations. Testing allows us to contain the risks inherent to the wind industry and it is essential to receive approval from customers, insurers, and certification agencies in order to launch new designs“, said Dr. Martin Knops, Chief Technology Officer at ZF Wind Power.

With more than seven years of modular gearbox designs and 20 years of integrated powertrain design experience, ZF will be able to produce the next generation of wind turbine powertrains up to 30 MW and accelerate the speed at which the global energy system is being transformed. It demonstrates ZF’s commitment to wind and the strong belief in the future of this renewable energy source.

Photo gallery

ETIPWind SRIA Launch Event 2023

For more information, please contact the ETIPWind Secretariat: [email protected]