We are doing science for policy
The Joint Research Centre (JRC) is the European Commission's science and knowledge service which employs scientists to carry out research in order to provide independent scientific advice and support to EU policy.
Wind energy is anticipated to become a backbone of the future energy system. Ageing wind turbine fleets, increasing land-use constraints and rising relevance of societal factors make the deployment of land-based (onshore) wind energy ever more complicated. Consequently, repowering is expected to become a rapidly growing point of focus for the wind industry. Here we propose a more holistic and socially informed project-level approach to analyse repowering activity that enables a more robust understanding of the process and potentials. We demonstrate that for wind pioneer in Denmark, only 67% of the capacity removed in repowering projects was related to the physical space needed for a new turbine. Other factors that drive repowering include regulation (for example, noise-related, 8–17%), development principles (for example, aesthetics, 7–20%) and political bargaining (4–13%). The recognition of repowering as a negotiated process between host communities and wind developers will probably be critical to unlock the full potential of wind energy in the future.