A third call for proposals under the current round of Joule, the European Union's energy research and development programme, was issued last month. As promised (Windpower Monthly, November 1996), this call concentrates mainly on renewable energy, or on aspects in the four other areas of the programme which have a link with renewables. For wind energy the main message of this call is that projects seeking no more than incremental improvements of existing technology will have no priority. Joule III is mainly seeking wider penetration of wind in Europe through decreasing its cost, improving the reliability and public acceptability of wind turbines, and developing unconventional sites, such as those with complex terrain or very high or low wind speeds. Specifically, Commission staff are seeking wind applications in five areas: generic research of crucial technical aspects (verification of aerodynamic tools and issues associated with lightning, electromagnetic interference, grid connection and capacity credit); stand alone and desalination systems; highly innovative turbines aimed at reducing cost (with utility or user/developer involvement); wind turbines for alternative sites; and certification and standardisation. The call for proposals gives special mention to developing "a new generation of even larger wind turbines" using advanced materials and components developed in the previous programme. "At the same time this know-how will be used to improve significantly the cost efficiency and reliability of smaller wind turbines," it states. Emerging highly innovative concepts of turbine design will also be given priority.
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