Energy from wind – perspectives and research needs
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Wind energy will provide a major share of our future energy supply, and, due to the possibility of going offshore, has an immense additional potential for power supply. To use wind energy in a reliable way, much research work still has to be done. One of these fields is the evaluation of wind energy in terms of sustainability. The results of Life Cycle Assessments (LCA) show that wind energy converters have a short energy payback time and low emissions, even in comparison with other renewable energy systems. Another field of research is the creation of optimisation models which can provide answers to questions concerning the future power generation mix. The opportunity exists, now that a great part of the over-aged conventional power plant stock has to be replaced, to adapt the power plant mix to an expanded share of wind energy. Within this mix, electric storage may play a major role. The results of the optimisation models indicate that storage sites alone will not be profi enough to reduce operating costs of the modelled system, and that this will only be possible through the option of energy trading. Hence there are interesting instruments in the deregulated energy market, especially for electric-power commodity exchanges like the EEX.
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