A large number of people in a room, attending a conference.
A large number of people in a room, attending a conference.
A large number of people in a room, attending a conference.

EERA DeepWind 2024 in review

The EERA DeepWind 2024 took place 17-19 January in beautiful Trondheim, Norway. It gathered about 300 scientists, experts and representatives from the industry to discuss the latest developments in offshore wind R&I. You can read about day 1 below, or skip directly to day 2 or day 3.

Day 1

The day started with the official opening of the event, by Norwegian State Secretary for Energy, Astrid Bergmål. In her speech, she outlined the various measures put in place by the government to meet its offshore wind targets.

A top roster of keynote speakers

The day then continued with a series of keynote speeches by notable experts in the field. First up was Enrico Degiorgis, policy officer on wind energy and renewable hydrogen research and innovation at the European Commission. He gave an overview of recent policy and legislative developments related to wind power in the EU. One such development is the European Wind Power Action Plan, adopted in October 2023.

Next, Yongqian Liu, professor of wind power systems at the New Energy School, North China Electric Power University, provided a status update on wind power in China. The country had just under 32 GW of installed offshore wind capacity at end of September 2023, which places it ahead of every other nation worldwide.

Herbjørn Haslum, head of floating wind technology at Equinor, outlined the company’s technology development journey experienced when building and operating the Hywind floating offshore wind farms. Hywind Scotland was inaugurated in late 2017, while the much larger Hywind Tampen started producing power last year.

Nenad Keseric, senior vice president innovation and technology development at Statnett, explained the importance of the grid to the renewable energy transition. “There will be no transition without transmission”, he said, adding that massive investments are expected in the European power grid to meet a growing electricity demand.

Next, Lena Kitzing, head of section at the Department of wind and energy systems, society, market and policy of DTU (Technical University of Denmark), spoke of contracts for difference and how they can de-risk capital-intensive renewable investments. Because of high initial investments, wind power assets are more exposed to financial distress in periods of low power prices than other methods of generation (such as gas). Contracts for difference can be a solution to this misalignment. They work like this: the company owning an offshore wind farm agrees on a fixed price. When the actual price of power is lower than this agreed price, the government pays the difference .When it is higher, the company gives the excess to the government. If prices are negative, there is no production and no compensation.

Jacob Edmonds, head of innovation at Ørsted and VP of ETIP wind, presented an optimistic picture of the situation for the supply industry, which has been suffering recently due to inflation and supply issues. Interest rates and costs are expected to drop again, which should ease the situation. However, he pointed out that the supply side of the renewable energy industry will have to scale up to meet an increasingly heavy demand.

Ignacio Martí, coordinator of EERA JP wind, called for the creation of a pan-european Centre of Excellence for Wind Energy, which would allow for participating countries to move from isolated national projects to a fully coordinated programme. The objective would be to coordinate research and development efforts to avoid duplicating efforts, through a co-funded research programme.

Keynote presentations were followed by a panel debate involving all presenters, and led by SINTEF Energy Research’s Daniel Albert.

Scientific presentations

After the opening session, the conference moved into its main agenda with simultaneous scientific presentations in three parallel sessions. Topics today were new turbine and generator technology, met-ocean conditions, and experimental testing and validation.

Reception and first poster session

The first day ended with a reception kicked off with a musical interlude. The performer was Viktor Wilhelmsen, who has a Master’s degree from NTNU’s music department, and who is starting work on a PhD in music. His performance included North Sámi joik (a traditional form of song in Sámi music) and motifs inspired by African guitar music.

Viktor Wilhelmsen, NTNU

The recital was followed by a reception during which participants got the occasion to get to know each other better, and to view the conference’s offering of scientific posters. Posters allow research scientists to present their work in a concise and accessible format. They are particularly useful for complex or detailed studies that benefit from visual representation, such as graphs, charts, and images. In addition, they encourage more interactive and personal discussions than presentations or published papers.

Day 2

On the second day of the conference, scientific presentations were held in three parallel sessions. Topics touched were grid connection and power system integration; substructures and mooring; operation and maintenance; wind farm control; wind farm optimisation; and: societal impact and regulatory framework. A special side event was also held to examine the various funding opportunities the EU offers in the field.

Among the presenters on day 2, Daniel dos Santos Mota, from SINTEF Energy Research, showcased his work analysing a grid-forming storage hub for an offshore platform cluster supplied by wind energy.

Next up were two presentations linked to the Ocean Grid project. Ane Emilie Løtveit, from Aker Solutions, introduced her company’s Subsea collector, which reduce costs by connecting multiple wind turbines in a star configuration instead of the traditional daisy chain pattern.

Dana Reulein, PhD student at Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), gave an overview of synergies and trade-offs between hydrogen and offshore wind investments in the North Sea region.

Read more about Ocean Grid at EERA DeepWind 2024

An exciting session about Societal impact and regulatory framework had five presentations this year. First, Sara Heidenreich, from NTNU, described a user case by FME NTRANS and FME NorthWind to try and determine how to develop Utsira Nord in a just and inclusive way. Also involved in that presentation were Aurora Andersson, from Fred Olsen Seawind, who are behind this user case, and Katja Bratseth, from Byantropologene AS, who are doing research and data collection.

Also holding presentations during this session: Sigurd Hilmo Lundheim, NTNU: “Wind Energy Development in Norway: Exploring the Emotional Landscape”; Dorothy Dankel, SINTEF: “An analysis of fishermen’s concerns about wind farms and knowledge gaps in Norway”.

Next, Catherine Banet, University of Oslo, gave an overview of the legal framework for electricity market design offshore. Lots of work remains to be done in this field, both in establishing new regulations and in harmonising them amongst European countries.

NorthWind PhD student Florian Stadtmann, NTNU, held a presentation about using digital twins to inform public opinion and decision making. The visualisations made possible through digital twins can make plans more easy to grasp and improve the understanding of certain concepts.

Second poster session and banquet

Day two ended with the conference’s second poster session, that sparked lots of engaging discussions. This was followed by a banquet during which participants enjoyed local food and relaxed after a long day.

Day 3

The third and last day of the conference features parallel sessions on environmental impact and marine operations and logistics.

The conference’s closing session is titled “Strategic outlook”, with keynote presentations from both scientists, representatives from the industry and a delegate from Utsira municipality.

First up was Dorothy Dankel, from SINTEF Ocean, whose presentation was titled “Sustainability is more than a number: Enabling co-existence and multi-use offshore”. She pointed out that people earning a living from fishing are not against offshore wind and renewable energy – on the contrary, they do want renewable energy, but they also want to continue fishing.

Next, Jan Kristian Haugeland, from DOF Subsea, outlined the work his company did on the Hywind Tampen floating offshore wind farm, as well as key lessons learnt.

This was followed with a presentation by Lars Frøyd, from 4subsea: “Quantifying effects of characteristic turbulence on floating wind turbine fatigue”. Both wind and waves create loads on a floating wind turbine’s mooring systems and tower base, and these stresses result in ageing.

Next, Michael Karch, from Ramboll, outlined approaches and challenges in the structural design process of floating substructures. Creating accurate computer models of these substructures is challenging, and different approaches have different advantages and drawbacks.

Grete Møgster, who is business developer at Utsira municipality, then gave a talk presenting her town and its residents’ perceptions of offshore wind. The lion’s share of the Utsira Nord area that has been earmarked for offshore wind development falls within the boundaries of the municipality. Utsira has less than 200 inhabitants, which makes it Norway’s smallest municipality.

The conference’s final keynote was given by Paul McKeever, from ORE Catapult. He presented NeWindEERA, a new research programme for the European wind sector. The project is funded by EERA JP wind and was kicked off in April 2023. Its main objective is to outline a new strategic research programme for the European wind energy research community.

Poster awards

The conference concluded with the poster awards ceremony, recognising outstanding scientific poster presentations. One award was given for best content, and two for best communication.

The winners are, in the best content category:

  • Kayacan Kestel, from Vrije Universiteit Brussel
    Experimental investigation of the relation between operating conditions and offshore wind turbine drivetrain dynamics

In the best presentation category, winners are:

  • Fabio Pierella, from DTU Wind Energy
    Efficient numerical modeling for analysis and design of ultra large floating wind turbines (EMULF2)
  • Ivana Lapšanská, from Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und -prüfung:
    Thermographic detection of leading-edge erosion and AI-based image processing
Winners of the 2024 EERA DeepWind poster awards, with members of the organising committee.
In the front: Award winners Kayacan Kestel, Ivana Lapšanská and Fabio Pierella. In the back: EERA DeepWind organising committee members Olimpo Anaya-Lara, Michael Muskulus, Trond Kvamsdal, Arno van Wingerde, Erin Bachynski-Polić and John Olav Tande.