The centre provides research and development for the wind energy industry – from material development to integration into the power grid. The IWES headquarter is located in Bremerhaven, Germany, close to offshore wind manufacturers.
During 2009, the Institute for Solar Energy Supply Technology ISET, an association at the University of Kassel specialising in developing power grids for renewable sources, will be integrated into the IWES.
In addition to its close ties to the University of Kassel, two Fraunhofer project groups will be set up at the University of Hannover and at the University of Oldenburg. The University of Bremen is also cooperating with the IWES.
The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the Land of Bremen have already provided institutional funding to the predecessor of the IWES, the Fraunhofer Center for Wind Energy and Maritime Technologies CWMT – this support includes construction of research facilities totalling €12.8 million.
The federal ministry for the environment, nature conservation and nuclear safety BMU and the Land of Bremen are currently providing funds of €12.6m for the construction of the rotor blade competence centre as a part of the IWES. The BMU has furthermore promised the IWES project funding of €25m in the years 2009 through 2013. The Bremen Senate is providing €10m in aid for further expansion of the IWES in Bremerhaven through 2014.
The Land of Niedersachsen is supporting not only the Fraunhofer project groups, but also the cooperating universities in Hannover and Oldenburg, likewise with funds in the tens of millions of Euros. Hessen is funding the transition of the Kassel ISET into the IWES with €10.5m, and also wants to share in the costs of new construction in Kassel for the medium term.
The researchers at IWES have already been developing testing methods for wind energy systems for two years: the CWMT, which has merged into the new Fraunhofer Institute IWES, has specialised in oversized material tests.
In the future, the new Fraunhofer Institute will be home to experts from various disciplines. The engineers in Bremerhaven are contributing their experience in testing and simulation of materials and components, while the researchers from Kassel are working on electro-technical issues. One of their special areas is the integration of wind power into public power grids.