A European technology platform for wind energy has kicked off in Brussels that will map out priorities for wind research and development (R&D) up to 2030 and direct public and private funding towards targeted research areas. Its overall objective is to increase wind's competitiveness. "Wind energy is already a European success story but it is still just a shadow of what it could be," says European Wind Energy Association president Arthouros Zervos, who chairs the platform's advisory council. "Long term R&D and policy development to build markets must be undertaken if wind energy is to contribute to one-fifth of European electricity supply of the coming decades." The platform will bring together the major players in the industry -- turbine and component manufacturers, project developers, research bodies, financiers, EU institutions and national governments. Launching the platform, known as TPWind, Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs says he believes in wind energy -- particularly offshore wind, but there are still limitations linked to costs and to grid integration. "The wind sector needs a network and still needs R&D. I think that the platform will really make a difference. I'm happy that the Commission is supporting it." TPWind is an opportunity to strengthen the collaboration between national programs, says Joachim Nick-Leptin from Germany's Federal Ministry for Environment. The main wind R&D priorities for Germany are offshore wind, grid integration, cost reduction and also research into environmental issues, particularly for offshore. "I'm convinced that my neighbours are facing similar challenges," he says. "There is a crucial need to join efforts and work together in the research field."
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