More longer term research into wind energy is needed if the technology is to compete with conventional energy sources, says a new report prepared by the International Energy Agency (IEA). The report, Long Term Research and Development Needs for Wind Energy: 2000 to 2020, says that for wind energy to supply 10% of the world's electricity needs by 2020, further cost reductions of 30-50% are needed for it to make that market breakthrough. Research and development (R&D) work could contribute up to 40% of those cost reductions, it adds. "There is an urgent need for stronger publicly supported long term research to complement the product development already carried out within the industry," says Jorgen Lemming, chair of the IEA's R&D Wind Implementing Agreement. The report identifies wind research priorities over both the mid and long term. Over the next five to ten years, R&D to further wind forecasting techniques, facilitate grid integration and to incorporate public attitudes and visual impact into the siting process must be carried out. Over the next ten to 20 years, the report says, wind research should focus on improving the way turbines interact with the grid infrastructure by "adding intelligence to the complete wind system." In addition, developing storage techniques for periods ranging from minutes to months will help increase the value of wind energy.
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