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Welcome to Task 19 Home Page

This is the home page of IEA Wind Task19 Wind Energy in Cold Climates. The purpose of this project is to gather and provide information about wind energy in cold climates, including project development, operation and maintenance (O&M), health, safety and environment (HSE), operational experiences, and recent research. Cold Climate areas are regions where icing events or periods with temperatures below the operational limits of standard wind turbines occur, which may impact project implementation, economics and safety.

The current term continues until end of 2015. An extension will be proposed for 2016-2018.

GOAL: IEA Wind Task 19 Wind Energy in Cold Climates began work in 2002 to address the special issues for wind turbines operating in cold environments. Areas where icing events (Icing Climate) or periods with temperatures below the operational limits (Low Temperature Climate) of standard wind turbines occur, may impact project implementation, economics, and safety. In some areas, wind turbines are only exposed to either icing or low temperature events. In some regions both low temperatures and icing events may take place. Although theoretically possible, active icing rarely occurs at temperatures below minus 25°C. Figure below illustrates the definition and connections of Cold Climate, Low Temperature Climate and Icing Climate.

Figure 1. Definition of cold climate, low temperature climate and icing climate

BACKGROUND: Cold climate areas have gained more focus recently in attempts to reach higher wind energy targets. Wind resources in cold climate areas are typically good and combining these resources with typically low population densities makes cold climate areas attractive for wind development. Increased experience, knowledge, and improvements in cold climate technologies have made projects in cold climates more competitive with standard wind projects. By end of 2012, the global wind capacity operating in cold climates is approximately 69 GW; however, only a small portion of this wind turbine fleet is designed for icing and low temperature conditions. Between 2013-2017, an additional 45-50GW of new installations is forecasted to the global cold climate market making it truly a substantial share of total global wind energy installations, see figure 2 [source: BTW World Market Update 2012]. This means that the stimulus for further development of wind power projects and technology in cold climate areas is strong.

Figure 2. Installed and forecasted capacity in cold climate regions globally [source: BTW World Market Update 2012]

However, icing and low ambient temperatures pose special challenges for wind energy projects. Icing of wind turbine rotor blades reduces energy yield, may shorten mechanical life time of turbines, and increases safety risk due to potential ice throw. Low temperatures can affect a turbine’s mechanical lifetime if they are not taken into account in turbine design by using appropriate materials.

To meet the demand for cold climate installations, turbine manufacturers have developed technical solutions for low temperatures of their standard turbines. In addition, first-generation commercial solutions for de-icing of wind turbine blades have entered the marketplace. R&D activities have been conducted in a number of countries to master the difficulties that atmospheric icing and low temperatures create. These research activities aim to improve the economics of wind power at new areas around the globe. The coming years are important to validate the fresh information and knowledge, and to analyze the performance of the adapted technologies arising from the wind energy projects going on, as well to gather more information to be publicly available.

PROGRESS: Task 19 Wind Energy in Cold Climates, an expert group under IEA Wind research collaboration, has been working to solve the additional challenges in cold climates since 2002. The group collects, evaluates, creates and shares information covering all aspects of wind energy in cold climates. For example, the group is working on site assessment in icing conditions, clarifying the economics of cold climate wind projects, and improving health and safety issues and procedures.

WORK PLANNED FOR TERM 2013-2015:
1. Update State-of-the-Art report to complement Recommended Practices 13. 2nd edition.
2. Update Recommended Practices 13 to 2nd edition. It will include ice throw risk mitigation guidelines, standardized production loss method due to icing based only on SCADA data, and validation of the IEA Ice Classification.

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