After more than two years of construction, a wind energy research facility has been opened in the Stade district in Lower Saxony. The research park called Wivaldi is operated by the German Aerospace Center (DLR).

“Wind energy still has great technological potential,” said DLR CEO Anke Kaysser-Pyzalla. One wants to make the research useful for society and for the economy, she said. The construction of the plant, which is located near the mouth of the Elbe northwest of Hamburg, cost around 50 million euros.

Lower Saxony’s Prime Minister Stephan Weil (SPD) said at the opening of Wivaldi that climate protection is an enormously difficult task that one has to face if one does not want to accept unspeakable alternatives. In Lower Saxony there are advantages of nature, for example in the wind conditions. “For us, it is also an opportunity for major economic strengthening,” said Weil. Research is needed for the energy transition to be successful. “That’s why, as I said, our support for Wivaldi is also a strategic decision.”

The construction of the research park was paid for by the Federal Ministry for Climate Protection and the Lower Saxony Ministry of Science. Around 16 million euros came from Lower Saxony.

Treasure of data for science

According to DLR, Wivaldi is a “large-scale research facility that is unique in the world”. The facility consists of three wind turbines, several met masts and a control room where the researchers sit. The entire facility is equipped with more than 2000 sensors that measure wind speed, humidity and temperature, among other things. According to the DLR, the system generates a treasure trove of data for science.

DLR’s goal is to develop new technologies with companies at the research facility in order to improve the efficiency and profitability of wind energy. For example, research is being carried out into intelligent rotor blades that adapt to the wind. They are called Smartblades. Researchers are also working on the facility to reduce noise emissions. This should improve the acceptance of wind energy.

With the research of wind energy, Wivaldi should also advance the energy transition. In the first three months of this year, wind energy was the most important source of electricity in Germany with a share of 32.2 percent. This is the result of figures from the Federal Statistical Office. In the heat and transport sectors, renewable energies have a significantly smaller share. Germany aims to be climate neutral by 2045.

Wivaldi was developed by the Wind Energy Research Association. The research network includes DLR, the center for wind energy research ForWind and the Fraunhofer Institute for Wind Energy Systems. In addition, there is a cooperation with the German manufacturer of wind turbines Enercon.

Website Wivaldi