The structural Needs in Present and Future Wind Energy Education and Research

The Present Status and Future Challenges of Wind Energy Education and Industry Collaboration in EU-28

Following on from the 2015 report on the Offshore Wind Power Roadmap, the Anemorphosis Research group was invited by the Independent Council for Science and Technology (ICST)to undertake research into the future challenges and impacts that would result from the forthcoming technological innovations across the economy as a whole. This report assesses the available evidence base on the potential CoE mitigation and review current wind energy education in European universities and training centers which lags behind the growth of wind power industry. Our study highlights the major opportunities and future challenges in wind energy education, training and innovation to help policymakers understand the importance of value creation and knowledge sharing.


According to preliminary figures gathered by WWEA, the year 2014 brought a new record in wind power installations: More than 50 Gigawatt of capacity were added during the year 2014, bringing the total wind power capacity close to 370 Gigawatt. The market volume for new wind capacity was 40 % bigger than in 2013, and significantly bigger than in the previous record year 2012, when 44,6 GW were installed. The top twelve countries alone installed 44,8 Gigawatt of new wind power projects both onshore and offshore and half of them setting new national records:

China added 23,3 Gigawatt, the largest number a country has ever added within one year, reaching a total capacity of 115 GW and now accounting for more than 28% of the world’s wind power market. Germany has become the second largest market for new turbines, adding onshore and offshore 5,8 Gigawatt. The US market recovered from its previous problematic behaviour because of the economic recession and reached 4,9 Gigawatt. The newcomer of the year 2014 is Brazil with additional capacity of 2,8 Gigawatt, the first time that a Latin American country has reached such an impressive figure.

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Previous surveys show that organizations that innovate and work synergistically are more prfitable and have greater business competitive edge compared with these firms that prefer more secrecy in their strategic objectives. When an organization or a firm is working together with researchers from the Academy could:

  • develop new ideas, products and services for the market
  • get expert advice and access to the latest knowledge, technology and equipment
  • have access to skilled and work-ready researchers
  • lead to new funding schemes and modern research modeling- surveying - infrastructure

From the other point of view, also the benefits for researchers working with businesses means the opportunity to:

  • contribute to knowledge sharing and value creation
  • roduce high quality and relevant research that translates directly into commercial outcomes
  • develop new ideas, products and services for the market
  • produce research leading to greater social, economic and environmental impact
  • build valuable contacts and networks
  • build a reputation as a world-class research institution open to business

Europe is focusing heavily on offshore wind power development. Three countries — Germany, Denmark and the United Kingdom, are spearheading this drive. The European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) road-map is projecting that offshore wind power plants will increase the overall installed capacity to 40-50 GW in 2020 from 6.5 GW in 2013. Various options are being examined to improve the technology for installing wind turbines. At present, wind turbines are anchored to the seabed in water depths not exceeding 30 meters. Research studies and simulation modeling tests are being conducted on artificial platforms and wind turbines on floating foundations anchored at depths of up to 60 meters. To reduce investment costs, researchers are also looking into the possibility of using existing offshore oil industry’s techniques and lessons learned. More than 100 research priorities were proposed from the industry’s experts and the topics of these proposed priorities were divided according to short-tern (0–5 years), mid-term (5–10 years), or long-term (10–20 years) time scale.

Currently, many engineers and project managers in Europe’s wind power industry do not have systematic education back- ground relating to wind energy. EWEA suggests that, every 10 MW wind power could create 35-45 job opportunities. As of December 2014, installed capacity of wind power in the European Union totaled 128,751 megawatts (MW). The European Wind Energy As- sociation estimates that 230 gigawatts (GW) of wind capacity will be installed in Europe by 2020, consisting of 190 GW onshore and 40 GW offshore.. This means that Europe’s annual new installed capacity will reach 18,000 MW by 2020 and thus, the wind power industry will create approximately 50,000 - 60,000 new jobs every year from 2015 to 2020.

For example, Enercon, one of the biggest wind turbine manufacturer, has planned to recruit more than 1000 graduates from universities between 2015-2020 while Dong Energy, the largest offshore redeveloper in the world is continuously hiring wind power experts and graduates and running innovative concepts (Engineer the Future). However, wind power industry faces the problem of lacking skilled professionals with proper experiences in wind energy. Academies and training centers can offer systematic and structural knowledge to people to know how to manage the wind power equipment and identify the associated risks and uncertainties related to the transportation, installation, operation and maintenance.