Why the EU supports wind energy research and innovation
Wind energy is the technology expected to provide the largest contribution to the EU renewable energy targets for 2020 and beyond.
The EU currently has the largest floating wind energy capacity in the world - about 70% of the total.
By end 2020, the total installed wind energy capacity could reach 210GW, equivalent to supplying 14% of electricity demand. By 2030 it could reach 350GW, supplying up to 24% of electricity demand.
Challenges and opportunities
Wind power is already competitive with other sources of electricity in a number of countries.
Offshore wind represents a significant future opportunity: resources are stable, abundant and public acceptance is higher.
Europe is the global leader in offshore wind. This position must be maintained in a context where global players such as the USA, China, Korea and Japan have increased their support to boost their offshore industry.
However, knowledge about potential impacts of wind energy turbines on the environment and health need to be improved, given the widespread use of the technology.
Another important challenge will be to increase the circularity of wind energy technology, taking into account the end of life of turbines and the materials dependency.
What the EU is doing
EU research and innovation aims to lower costs and increase the performance and reliability of offshore wind energy technology.
The EU is also supporting floating substructures or integrated floating wind energy systems for deeper waters and use in other climate conditions. This will increase deployment possibilities and improve the European position in the global market.
Offshore wind power in Europe is currently focused in the North Sea, which has relatively shallow water. However, more attention has been paid recently in the Mediterranean and the Atlantic Coast, as floating technologies become more mature.
Gain easier access to debt and equity financing, such as InnovFin, managed by the European Investment Bank Group and European Investment Fund
CEF energy funds and finances energy infrastructure projects
Funding for innovative low-carbon technology research with focus on environmentally safe Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) and innovative renewable energy technologies
Co-financing for climate change mitigation and climate change adaptation research, supporting the transition to a low-carbon and climate-resilient economy
EU Programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (COSME) aims to make it easier for SMEs to access finance in all phases of their lifecycle
Prize rewarding achievements in local renewable energy production for electricity, heating, cooling and transport on islands.
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