World’s leading Wind Energy Scientists to travel to Cork for prestigious International Conference

~ WESC 2019 will be a 4-day international festival of wind energy science ~

“We have been working in Europe for a long time, it's fantastic to have the opportunity to bring our colleagues home to Cork,” Dr. Cian Desmond, MaREI


A major international wind energy science conference is coming to Ireland next month from June 17 - 20, the first time it has taken place outside of mainland Europe, bringing up to 900 of the world’s leading wind energy scientists and engineers from over 38 countries to Cork for a four-day event, which is estimated to be worth €1.4 million to the local economy.


The Wind Energy Science Conference (WESC) 2019 is organised on behalf of the European Academy of Wind Energy (EAWE) in association with MaREI, the SFI Research Centre for Marine and Renewable Energy. The event is chaired by Dr. Cian Desmond, a Research Fellow in UCC, who won the event for Cork following a competitive bidding process between Europe’s top research institutions.


It will be the first time the biennial conference has taken place outside mainland Europe and is the largest scientific conference ever to be held in Cork, with up to 900 delegates attending a total of 700 talks across 140 sessions across 8 diverse scientific themes. The conference will take over the entire UCC main campus for 4 days this June.


Dr. Desmond and member of the Offshore Renewable Energy Group at the SFI MaREI Centre have managed to more than doubled the number of delegates attending in previous years by restructuring the conference, broadening its themes, and tapping into their strong academic networks across Europe. The ground-breaking research being carried out at UCC and Ireland as a destination were also huge selling points for international delegates.


Organisers are keen for the conference to be part of the broader Cork community, and so, delegates will be encouraged to explore some of the best food, music, sport and culture that Cork has to offer with trips to Spike Island, Páirc Uí Chaoimh, Cork City Goal and other key attractions along with a banquet dinner in the Clayton Hotel Silver Springs.


Dr. Desmond, whose current research at the SFI MaREI Centre focuses on the design and testing of floating wind turbines, says that “the aim of the conference is to create a multidisciplinary open forum for discussion where scientists and engineers can explore the latest developments in wind energy science, spot emerging trends and identify future collaborators. Whilst wind energy is a mature technology, there are a number of complex open research questions. To provide innovative solutions we need to start conversations between diverse scientific groups and forge new collaborative research relationships”.


Up for discussion at WESC 2019 is the development of floating wind turbines which Dr. Jimmy Murphy (lead of the Offshore Renewable Energy Group in MaREI) says promises to be “the next big thing” in renewable energy generation, due the potential for mass production and lower environmental impact compared to bottom fixed offshore wind turbines. A symposium dedicated to Floating Wind Energy hosted by Prof. James Manwell (University of Massachusetts) will bring together a number of the world’s leading researchers from China, Germany and the USA to discuss how to accelerate the uptake of floating technologies, risk mitigation and other pressing topics.


Other highlights will include a demonstration of a commercial floating wind energy platform which is currently being tested in the Lir, the National Ocean Test Facility; a discussion with EirGrid, Ireland’s electricity power grid provider, on the challenges faced by grid operators when there is a high percentage of wind energy on the system; and sessions led by Dr. Roland Schmehl of TU Delft which will focus on airborne wind energy systems, a potential game changing technology which will allow wind energy to be generated by drones and kites flying at high altitudes and a session exploring the latest findings from EirWind.  This is a €1.2million industry and SFI funded project in MaREI which is examining the opportunities for and barriers to the development of offshore wind in Ireland.


Commenting on the value of bringing the conference to Cork, Evelyn O’Sullivan, manager of Cork Convention Bureau said, “We are delighted to have been involved with Dr Cian Desmond in the original bid submission to bring the Wind Energy Science Conference to Cork in 2019. WESC will be the largest association conference to be held here bringing a lot to the local economy based on the value of each international delegate being €1,600”.



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