Spanish R&D flexes international muscle wind atlases and energy research

SPAIN: Over the past year or so, Spain's National Renewable Energy Centre, Centro Nacional de Energias Renovables (Cener), has raised its international profile, especially on the wind power stage. As well as advising the Clemson University on the design of what will be the world's biggest turbine test facility (see box, left), it is also now the wind power coordinator for the International Energy Agency (IEA) and presides over the European Academy of Wind Energy (EAWE).

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Among Cener's most vigorous and tangible international activities is wind resource consultancy in emerging wind markets. It has produced a complete simulated wind atlas, first of Tunisia and later for a host of eastern European countries. Its wind simulation model has recently passed a milestone.

According to Ignacio Marti, chief of Cener's wind resource evaluation department, the model "was recognised as one of the best" in a blind test on 50 different simulation models carried out at Denmark's wind pioneering Riso research and development (R&D) institute.

Cener was elected last year as IEA's operating agent, in charge of coordinating work across the 24 national members.

Felix Avia, head of Cener's team at IEA, is preparing five meetings this year, including a symposium in Norway on the fast-growing offshore challenge, another in Mexico on connection of wind capacity to weak grids - "particularly important in emerging markets", says Avia - and a third in South Korea on resource evaluation in complex terrain.

"There are wind plants in emerging countries producing 30% below expectation due to bad resource evaluation; that needs putting right," Avia explains.

Avia was also elected president last autumn of the European Academy of Wind Energy (EAWE), made up of 30 training and R&D institutions across the EU, representing 80% of all Europe's basic wind energy research, according to EAWE.

One of Avia's personal missions is to set up wind power PhD exchanges among the university members of EAWE and promote joint R&D programmes.

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