WindEurope Offshore 2019: 'Work with China' to boost innovation

Europe's offshore wind industry, academia and research bodies all need to widen their horizons and collaborate with the Chinese to boost innovation in the sector and face up to the huge challenge of cutting carbon emissions.

Fight them or join them: Dongfang technicians pose in front of new 10MW offshore turbine generator (pic credit: Sasac)
Fight them or join them: Dongfang technicians pose in front of new 10MW offshore turbine generator (pic credit: Sasac)

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This was the rallying cry from Aidan Cronin, chair of ETIP Wind, an EU-funded technology and innovation platform that brings together wind energy stakeholders to foster innovation and support Europe's transition to clean energy.

With the global climate focusing minds, and the offshore wind industry under pressure to deliver 450GW of installed capacity in European waters by 2050, it is time to "act quickly and bring some good ideas up to scale".

This includes cooperation with China, Cronin told the audience at a conference session on research and innovation.

The European wind industry prides itself on its technological leadership, but the urgency of the climate crisis and the reality of a fast-growing and very well-funded wind industry in China, should prompt a rethink, said Cronin.

"With China, you can either fight them or join them. I think we should join them," he said.

He added that the real battle to be fought was the one against climate change, not the Chinese industry. "The challenge is big enough for everyone and the opportunities for collaboration are very strong."

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