32 million kronor for research into wind power in cold climates

The Swedish Energy Agency is supplementing the existing wind power research funding with a further SEK 32 million for a new research programme over the period 2013 – 2016. The purpose of the programme is to develop new knowledge and new technology for wind power in cold climates.

In Sweden, many of the wind sites that are suitable for wind power production are located in areas which, during the winter, are subjected to a cold climate. In the planning framework for wind power that was adopted by Parliament, half the land-based wind power is situated in such areas. Finland, Norway, Switzerland, the USA, Canada, Germany, Austria, Russia and China also have the potential for wind power in a cold climate.

The Energy Agency already supports research and development investments in wind power in general that also incorporates cold climate, for example the research programmes Vindforsk, the Vindpilot Project, the Toppforskning initiative and the competence centre Svenskt Vindkrafttekniskt Centrum. The Agency is now interested in raising the level of ambition still further within the cold climate area by supplementing the other investments with a directed research programme.

"The Swedish Energy Agency wants to create conditions so that wind power can be established to a greater extent in cold climates, and is now investing in further research and development activities," says Birgitta Palmberger, Head of Department at the Swedish Energy Agency.

The purpose of the programme is to strengthen Swedish multidisciplinary research and development in the area, attract competence and players from other established sectors and help to make sure that new technical solutions are developed. In this way, it will be possible for onshore wind power to be established in areas with good wind conditions even in areas with a cold climate. Furthermore, the Swedish domestic climate conditions can be made use of for creating competence and growth within Swedish trade and industry.

The programme is based on research requirements that exist specifically for the establishment of wind power in areas with a cold climate. In such areas, cold conditions and ice formation mean that it is more difficult to know how much electrical energy a plant can extract from the wind at the same time as design, construction and maintenance will be more expensive compared with land-based wind power in temperate climates. Another important research requirement is increased knowledge of environmental and safety aspects.