The wind of energy transition cover

WEC Italy, in partnership with ERG and E2i Energie Speciali and with the patronage of Anev and Elettricità futura, has organized the closed door seminar “The Wind of Energy Transition”, helded in Rome on November 29, 2019.

The seminar has been an occasion for a multi-stakeholder dialogue between European institutions and companies involved in the wind sector, who shared experiences and information on national regulations and projects for wind parks in place and planned in European countries.


Interesting takeaways emerged from keynote speeches and discussant interactions:  


  • A combination of technology developments, digitalization and climate policies are pushing the transition towards decarbonisation. Global wind capacity is expanding at world level with Asia (China-India) sets to lead new additions in perspective. According to IRENA, onshore wind will still play the major role in the long run however its deployment is not on track with 2050 environmental targets. Technical measures complemented by market design and regulation would allow for the most flexible and effective management of wind assets.
  • In Europe among top performers in planned additions we find Uk, Finland, Poland, Sweden, Germany, Ireland and France. The cost of generation from wind is the most competitive today and this source would become the first one into the EU generation mix by 2027. As for installed parks Denmark, Spain, Germany and Italy are among the countries with the highest share of plants between 15-25 years. This poses the largest need and opportunities for re-powering.
  • UK environmental policies aim to 30GW of installed wind parks by 2030, but to date politicians are pushing for a new ambition up to 40-50 GW. At a national level, UK is desining environmental and energy policy through a coordination of different Ministries (Energy, Environment, Defense etc.) and looking at energy as a system, not as single chains separately addressed. UK also offers interesting financial opportunities for sustainable investments.
  • Italy aims at 18 GW of installed wind capacity by 2030 and in order to achieve RES targets fixed by National Energy and Climate Plan. Repowering activities, investiments and the new plants will be facilitated by easier autorization processes and supporting mechanisms. In order to reach the 2030 target, however there is a need for simplify the authorization and permitting rules for allowing repowering of ageing capacity. In fact, the avarge age of wind parks in Italy is 9 years at present time, it will be 21 by 2030. Without proper re-powering activities an estimated 3.4 GW of wind parks will be losed by 2030. To avoid this, Italy has to favour repowering activites estimated in 4 GW by 2030 in paralle to no installations.
  • France General objectives of energy policy are:
    • Energy efficiency (final energy consumption vs 2012): -20% in 2030 and -50% in 2050;
    • RES (share in final consumption): 32% in 2030;
    • GHG emissions (vs 1990): -40% in 2030 and -100% in 2050 (zero net emissions)General objectives of energy policy:
  • France wind goals are:
    • Capacity: 20-28% of total, depending on scenario (EnerFuture 2019);
    • Generation: 11-19% of total;
    • Most wind-optimistic case: 28% of total capacity (84% onshore, 16% offshore) and 19% of total generation (74% onshore, 26% offshore).
  • Germany total wind power goal is to reach (onshore + offshore) 32% in 2030 and 49% in 2050 (up from 12% in 2016).  To deal with national North/South systems imbalance, hydrogen is being considered in combination with offshore wind:
    • Electrolysers able provide short-term flexibility, helping to manage the short-term fluctuations of VRE
    • Globally, demonstration projects with electrolysis – with increasingly bigger sizes (> 50 MW)
  • Estonia aims at -70% CO2 eimission by 2030. In this framework the wind capacity has to triple thus the Country is goingo to launch auctions and is interested in international cooperation.
  • According to WEC assessment on “Spatial Planning Principles and Technical Restrictions for Wind Park Developments” covering 11 EU contries:
    • All countries have indicated the difficulty of a spatial planning process for a wind park development;
    • There seems to be a degree of uncertainty about what actual documents are needed to initiate a spatial planning procedure. As well as the exact scope for a strategic environmental assessment is decided on a case by case principle.
    • The main concern with spatial planning procedures derives from the resistance from local communities;
    • Zero tolerance, specific designated areas or specific distance rules are applied to ovecome the negative effects of wind turbines to radars and radio equipment.
    • In most states, connection fees of an offshore wind park are borne by the developer. However, in Denmark and Germany the grid operator covers the connection cost.
    • Apart from Denmark none of the states have predefined height restrictions for the wind turbine. Currently, 150 metres, but soon to be abolished.
  • Regulation and permitting issues, more then finance issues, are  challanges to overcome for operators. For example, in Italy the permitting time on avarage is 60 months and this negatively impact on the technologies installed. When the park began to produce, new technologies are available that could have allowed highest power installed and more production during its life.
  • At this stage cleare and efficient regulation is needed in order to liminate system barriers, financial incentives is no more an issue.
  • From a system perspective DSOs play an increasingly critical role together with TSOs. Digitalisation will shape the activites of future DSOs that will span from monitoring, active-grid management and planning (RES modeling, probabilistic vs deterministc approach, power flow prediction algoritms).
  • ENTSO-e vision about wind installed capacity in 2040 is nearly 3 times the current value. Key pillars for the integration of high share of VRES are:
    • Adequate power grid infrastructure, that has to be enhanced considering the expected evolution of generation and demand
    • Well-functioning market design and regulatory framework, that have to be designed in order to optimize operational efficiencies and give optimal investment signals;
    • vailability of flexible resources and storage in order to maintain continuous service facing rapid and large swings in supply or demand.
  • New technologies also from oil&gas upstream sector could benefit the improvement of new wind capacity, e.g. floating wind parks.

Comments are closed.