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The research programme

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The main objectives of energy research in Switzerland are to guarantee a secure and sustainable energy supply, promote Switzerland as a centre of technological research and development, and maintain the high quality of Swiss research. Publicly funded energy research is carried out in line with the federal government energy research concept, which is published every four years by the Swiss Federal Energy Research Commission (CORE).

Overlying objectives

Fully developed wind power systems with capacities ranging from 500 W to 5 MW are now available on the market for use in normal conditions. The focus of research activities is therefore on the following areas:

  • Development of system components (sensor technology, nano-technology) for the utilisation by the domestic industry of wind energy under the specific conditions prevailing in Switzerland.
  • Increase in the availability and energy yield of wind power plants at extreme locations (climate, turbulence, logistics). 
  • Enhancement of the status of wind energy, optimal integration of wind power plants into the power supply (forecasting, reserve energy). 
  • Promotion of the degree of acceptance for wind energy, taking account of social and environmental know-how and thus speeding up the realisation of projects.  

In addition, pilot and demonstration projects are to be carried out in order to reduce non-technical barriers to the more effective market penetration of wind energy, and close the gap between research activities and practical application.

Research priorities for the period from 2008 to 2011

Based on specific practical experience and identified optimisation potentials, research is to focus on the following areas:

Systems (and components)

  • Reduction of loads with the aid of new materials.
  • Increase of energy yields at lower wind speeds.
  • Improvement of electronic components and sensors.
  • Use of nano-technology to combat soiling and ice formation.

Development of expertise relating to wind energy in a cold climate

  • Development of planning know-how for sites with high levels of turbulence, low temperatures and complex logistics requirements (e.g. in mountain regions).
  • Optimisation of wind modelling in complex or extremely difficult terrain. 
  • Tests at extreme locations.
  • Evaluation of practical findings, recommendations.
  • Development of risk management standards for wind energy projects.

Energy industry

  • "Nowcasting" and forecasting energy production from wind for optimal network management.
  • Network adjustment with a high proportion of wind energy - in combination with hydropower.
  • Optimisation of conditions in the network for intermittently producing power plants.

Acceptance

  • Identification of success factors and strategies, taking account of protection of landscape and the environment.
  • Local planning processes, social acceptance.
  • Public participation models.

Key data for the targeted development of wind energy, figures concerning electricity production costs as per 1)

  2008 2025 2050 
Planning time / acceptance      
Project duration (years) 2 – 7 1 – 2 < 1
Availability / energy yield      
Availability
Hours of full load for plants > 100 kW at locations > 5 m/s

95%
1,100

98%
1,300

>98%
1,600 

Production costs (cents per kWh)      
Costs of electricity production in Switzerland 12 – 20 12 – 15 11 – 13
Costs of electricity production in the EU 6 – 12 4 – 10 3 – 9

 

 

 

 



1) Swiss Federal Office of Energy (authored by the Paul Scherrer Institute): "Renewable energy and nuclear facilities", chapter 5, "Wind energy".

Related documents

Federal government energy research concept
Reports of programme heads
Wind energy research programme
Positionspapier Kleinwindanlagen und Energieforschung in der Schweiz

Further information

Renewable energy
Wind energy

Links

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Contact: Lionel Perret
Last update: 28.08.2012


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