International Energy Agency Implementing Agreements

The International Energy Agency (IEA) was founded as an autonomous body within the OECD to implement an international energy programme in response to the oil shocks of the 1970's. Activities are directed towards the IEA member countries' collective energy policy objectives of energy security, economic and social development, and environmental protection. One important activity undertaken in pursuit of these goals is a programme to facilitate co-operation to develop new and improved energy technologies. This programme consists of 'implementing agreements' which cover defined subject areas.

Ireland is signatory to the following International Energy Agency Implementing Agreements:

Membership of these implementing agreements involves a commitment to national participation in certain collaborative research activities, known as 'Tasks', which are defined in Annexes to the implementing agreements (see below). These tasks generally have duration of a number of years and are led by an 'operating agent' (OA) from a member country, responsible for coordinating task research activities and reporting on progress to the relevant implementing agreement executive committee (see below).

IEA Wind Implementing Agreement

IEA Wind's full title is the 'IEA implementing agreement for co-operation in the research, development, and deployment of wind energy systems'. It is a vehicle for member countries to exchange information on the planning and execution of national large-scale wind system projects and to undertake co-operative research and development projects.

In 2010, there are 24 contracting parties to this agreement. The contracting parties are designated by the Member Countries, the European Commission, and the European Wind Energy Association. Membership in the IEA Wind cooperative agreement is open to any country with an active wind energy program.

Research and Development Activities: 'Tasks'

The R&D Tasks performed under IEA Wind are approved by the ExCo as Annexes to the original Implementing Agreement. These Tasks are sometimes referred to by their Annex number e.g. Task 28 is on the 'Social Acceptance of Wind Energy Projects'.

Details of each Task can be accessed on the IEA Wind website. Ireland is currently (2010) participating in Task 11, Task 28 and has recently played a large role in Task 25 on the topic of integrating large amounts of wind energy on to power systems.

The level of effort varies for each Task. Some Tasks involve only information exchange. Other tasks involve funded programs requiring several peoples' time over two or more years. Some of these R&D projects are shared by each country performing a subtask; other projects are "cost shared" by each country contributing to the budget for a designated lead country to perform the work. These structures of cooperation allow countries to build capacity through contacts and benefit from research findings with minimal cost.

The technical results of Tasks are shared among participating countries, unless the participants agree to release the results to others. Only countries with parties interested in the outcome of a particular Task may choose to participate by signing the Annex agreement and contributing to the work. Each Member Country participates in at least one Task but most countries participate in more as Tasks topics are selected in response to proposals brought forward by groups of member countries.

Topical Expert Meetings

IEA Wind Task 11 gathers experts to present the latest results on focused topics and discuss solutions in a small group setting -typically 15-20 people. Experts from many countries and organizations share information and work to develop recommended practices for wind energy activities. A meeting on a topic can be viewed as a gathering of the state-of-the-art practitioners. A meeting can often lead to the initiation of a new Task of further research and the topic for each meeting is proposed by participants in response to the needs of the industry in their country.

The Topical Expert Meetings gather the latest knowledge for attendees and the proceedings are available to other researchers in participating countries.

Recent meetings focused on diverse topics such as:

- High Reliability Solutions and Innovative Concepts for Offshore Wind Turbines;
- Wind Farms in Complex Terrain;
- Radar Radio and Links with Wind Turbines;
- Remote Wind Speed Sensing Techniques using SODAR and LIDAR;
- Sound Propagation Models and Validation;
- Turbine Drive Train Dynamics and Reliability;
- Long-Term Research Needs; And
- Social Acceptance of Wind Energy Projects.

Details of the next meeting are published on the IEA Wind Task 11 website and on the SEAI events calendar. The proceedings from past meetings are published on the website. As there is a membership fee the proceedings are not published on the public section of the website until 12 months after a meeting. However, immediately after a meeting the proceedings are available to member countries including practitioners in Ireland.

If you would like to receive notification of meetings or the proceedings of a recent meeting please contact Martin McCarthy in the Renewable Energy Information Office

Annual Report

The activities of national programmes and of the collaborative R&D projects are reported each year in an Annual Report that is provided to Members for distribution in their countries. Each member country, including Ireland, contributes a chapter. Further information on the annual report including a long version of Ireland's contribution is published on the SEAI website. The report can also be downloaded for free from the IEA Wind website. A limited number of printed copies of the book are available from the Renewable Energy Information Office free of charge and on a first come first serve basis. The report is usually published in July and availability is publicised in the monthly free subscription REIO e-newsletter 'E-update' around that time.

Executive Committee

Overall control of information exchange and the R&D Tasks is vested in the Executive Committee (ExCo). The ExCo consists of a Member and Alternate Member from each contracting party that has signed the Implementing Agreement. Most countries are represented by one contracting party such as a government department or agency. SEAI is the contracting party for Ireland.

The ExCo meets twice each year to exchange information on the R&D programs of the Member countries, to discuss work progress on the various Tasks, and to plan future activities. Each Member Country has one vote on the ExCo.

The Executive Committee also designates research areas of current interest for Joint Action Symposia where experts meet on a regular basis to report on progress and discuss open issues. So far, Joint Actions have been initiated in Aerodynamics of Wind Turbines, Wind Turbine Fatigue, Wind Characteristics, Wind Forecasting Techniques, and Offshore Wind Systems. Symposia and conferences have been held on designated topics in each of these areas.

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