IEA Wind Task 19: Wind Energy in Cold Climates (working period 2019 - 2021)

The project deals with the challenges of wind power utilisation in icing conditions and provides a strong opportunity to generate new knowledge by global networking. Energiewerkstatt leads a subtask in the field of icefall risk and works on deriving rules of thumb for the risk assessment of the ice throw risk of turbines in operation during icing conditions.

Short Description

Depending on the climate at a site, there are numerous days during the year with weather conditions that lead to icing. About 15 % of current wind turbine sites in Austria can be classified as so-called "Cold Climate" locations with frequent icing. At these locations, icing represents a major challenge, both during the planning phase and later-on during operation of the turbines. However even in regions in the Eastern part of Austria, where a majority of the Austrian wind turbines are located, icing events occur several times per year. These icing events have to be taken into account, particularly regarding security and risk aspects.

Task 19 of the IEA Wind has been dealing with the manifold challenges of wind power in icing conditions for more than 20 years. The primary aim of this international research cooperation is to collect and generate new knowledge through mutual exchange of experience and global networking. This is achieved through biannual task workshops, where national research projects are presented and discussed. The results of the collaboration will be published in form of guidelines with best practice examples and recommendations for the realization of wind energy projects at sites with icing conditions. These documents contain recommendations for internationally valid definitions and classification systems and serve as inputs for norms and standards.

In the course of the previous working period (2019 to 2021) Energiewerkstatt (beside the tasks of networking and dissemination activities) worked on the two following research topics:
On the one hand, Energiewerkstatt continued leading a subtask, which dealt with the assessment of icefall/ice-throw risk. As a result, the official recommendation of Task 19 was updated and complemented with relevant aspects regarding the major input parameters for the assessment of risk due to icefall/ice-throw. Furthermore, Energiewerkstatt developed blanket assessment recommendations for the risk from ice throw of wind turbines. Based on calculated impact probabilities and conservative assumptions for the frequency of individual protected object categories, rules of thumb were determined for calculating the distances to be maintained to the protected objects. The aim was to create a scientifically sound basis for the continued operation of wind turbines even in the event of icing, provided that the corresponding minimum distances in relation to the respective protected object categories are maintained.

In order to ensure a smooth knowledge transfer of international expertise to Austria, Energiewerkstatt served as a national interface for the IEA activities. In co-operation with IGW, international know-how was disseminated in Austria.

Project Images

Terms of use: The pictures listed underneath the header “Project Pictures” originate from the projects in the frame of the programmes City of Tomorrow, Building of Tomorrow and the IEA Research Cooperation. They may be used credited for non-commercial purposes under the Creative Commons License Attribution-NonCommercial (CC BY-NC).


Documentation: Winterwind conference

For many years, the „Winterwind" conference is an annual fix point on the topic of wind energy in cold climate zones. This year, because of COVID19-related restrictions, "Winterwind 2021" had to be organized in a pure online format. Alexander Stökl from Energiewerkstatt contributed to this year's Winterwind with a talk reporting on Austrian research activities on ice fall from wind turbines, which have been conducted in the framework of the IEA-Wind task 19 collaboration.

The presentation slides are available for download.

More Publications are also available in the previous working period on the German part of the website.


Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Great Britain, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland

Contact Address

Project leader:

DI Andreas Krenn, MBA
Heiligenstatt 24
A-5211 Friedburg