Dr Stephan Barth

ForWind Centre for Wind Energy Research


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“The energy crisis is painfully highlighting the even bigger climate crisis, which now, at the very latest, requires urgent action. Decisionmakers must now display the foresight that previous generations lacked. The politicians’ goals for the massive expansion of renewables are extremely ambitious. This makes it very tempting to focus exclusively on alleged quick solutions from the past.

Yet funding research on wind energy and other renewables is crucial right now. There is still plenty of potential for innovation in this area. In the coming years the focus will be on making technologies more efficient and adaptable to variations in raw material availability. And the dependencies are great. Raw materials such as nickel, cobalt and copper are concentrated in only a few regions of the world – and already, the bulk of them are processed only in China. This is another reason why we need to promote local innovations and concepts that make us as independent of these materials as possible.

In addition, good conditions for research are the reason why professors take up a position at a university and thus contribute to training engineers and other scientists there. If there are cuts in funding, this cascade collapses. In the next few years these specialists will be more urgently needed than ever – incidentally, also by authorizing authorities if we want to see a reduction in the current eight-year average for getting a wind turbine up and running.”               

Dr Stephan Barth is Managing Director of the ForWind Centre for Wind Energy Research.

(Changed: 18 Nov 2022)