Designing the wind energy systems of the future

Part of Today in the Lab – Tomorrow in Energy?

Today in the Lab – Tomorrow in Energy? shines a spotlight on research projects under development in the Technology Collaboration Programmes (TCPs). Learn more about the initiative, read the launch commentary, or explore the TCPs.

Supporting research on the wind energy systems of the future

What is the aim of this project?

This project seeks to develop a set of reference energy systems to support research at the intersection of technology, energy systems and markets. Reference systems have long been used by the research community as a common platform for research and industry to explore impacts of innovation, technology design changes, market and policy conditions, and more. In the field of wind power, Wind TCP Task 37 has developed reference wind turbines and farms for land-based and offshore applications. Wind TCP Task 26 has supported the development of reference scenarios for wind cost of energy analysis. Wind TCP Task 25 has led the development of various comparative studies of the impacts of high shares of wind and other renewable energy sources in a variety of system contexts.

There is a growing recognition of the endogenous relationship between design and operational considerations and its impact on the individual technology, the larger grid and energy system, and the broader market and policy context. This project builds on a workshop held in November 2020 that discussed how reference systems have been developed and are used in research and industry practice, and explored dependencies across the boundaries of technology, grid and market - and the need to reference energy systems.

How could the project be explained to a high school student?

This project will create a set of models of future energy systems. To fight global warming we need clean energy systems that do not produce greenhouse gases. We are increasing our dependency on wind power and power, but we need to go further and create clean energy systems with wind, solar and other clean renewable energy sources as the backbone.

To do this, we need to understand how such energy systems will look and ask 1) how different technologies will perform in these systems, 2) how these systems will provide clean, affordable and reliable electricity, and 3) how we can design markets and policies that will support the development of these system. Creating models will help to answer these questions.

How does the project help to achieve climate and energy goals?

  • Enables technical and economic assessment of technologies in a variety of representative energy system contexts to help ensure that research and development prioritises technologies with maximum potential to achieve climate and energy goals.
  • Supports system operation and planning of energy systems in the transition to clean energy.
  • Supports design of markets and policies that encourage development of energy systems that meet climate and energy goals.

What government policies could advance this project?

  • Ensuring transparency about assumptions and inputs that are informing government energy scenarios.
  • Assessing the impacts of energy policy initiatives to help inform the creation of realistic reference systems.
  • Supporting and helping to create a common standard and terminology for assumptions and energy system typology, so that scenarios and impact assessments become comparable across jurisdictions and policy initiatives.
  • Requesting independent impact assessments based on standard methodology and reference systems before making important energy policy decisions.
Energy systems of the future will integrate large amounts of wind and solar energy for producing electricity and for other uses, like producing fuels.

Energy systems of the future will integrate large amounts of wind and solar energy for producing electricity and for other uses, like producing fuels. Source: Technical University of Denmark (DTU).

Partners and funders


Members of Wind TCP Tasks 25, 26 and 37.


No formal project – activities are currently distributed across organisations involved in task activities and a working group across the tasks is being formed.

Expected project duration

1 year

Learn more

About the Wind TCP

Established in 1977, the mission of the Wind TCP is to stimulate co-operation on wind energy research, development and deployment. The Wind TCP provides high-quality information and analysis to member governments and commercial sector leaders by addressing technology development, deployment and its benefits, markets and policy options.