IEA Wind Task 54: Wind Energy in Cold Climates (Working period 2022 - 2024)

In order to achieve the development targets for renewable energies, generation plants will increasingly have to be installed at locations with more demanding technical and environmental conditions in the future. For wind energy, this means planning and operating turbines under icing conditions in many countries. The task investigates and evaluates technological solutions in this environment and publishes procedural recommendations in the form of technical reports and guidelines.

Short Description

The European Green Deal of the European Commission to counteract climate change and achieve climate neutrality requires a massive expansion of renewable energies in all member states. Climate targets are also becoming more ambitious worldwide, and with them the expansion targets for wind energy. In many countries with pronounced winter climates, this means planning and operating wind turbines at sites with significant icing potential.

About 15% of the current turbine sites in Austria can be classified as so-called "cold climate" sites with frequent and severe icing. Here, icing poses a major challenge both during project planning and during operation of the plants. Even at sites in those regions of eastern Austria where a majority of Austrian wind turbines are in operation today, icing events occur several times per year.

The considerably increased expansion target of the Renewable Expansion Act for wind energy of 10 TWh by 2030 means that a considerable part of the expansion will also take place at sites in alpine and semi-alpine terrain with, on the one hand, great wind potential, but also increased risk of icing on the other hand. The investigation of technologies and strategies for the safe and efficient handling of icing is therefore not least a high priority in the course of the further expansion of wind energy also for Austria.

For more than 15 years, Task 19 of the IEA Wind TCP has been dealing with the various challenges of planning and operating wind turbines under icing conditions. The current work period focuses on the following topics:

  • Control of wind turbines and individual subsystems
  • Treatment of uncertainties
  • Modeling and testing
  • Safety and acceptance

The Austrian contributions focus mainly on the first two areas.

Regarding the control of subsystems of the wind turbines under icing conditions, a subtask is planned, that deals with rotor blade heating systems of different design and function.

Specifically, the effectiveness of de-icing or prevention of icing in different blade heating operating modes will be investigated, each in relation to icing frequency and duration at each site. A comprehensive comparison of the different systems, as well as a tool for calculating optimal sizing, will provide great benefit for project developers and operators planning the future wind energy deployment at sites with relevant icing events.

In the area of uncertainty handling, a transfer function for the transferability of icing frequency and duration at an unheated 1st class cup anemometer to an unheated wind turbine will be developed based on the data sets of (wind energy) relevant sites.

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).


  • Denmark
  • Germany
  • Finland (Operating Agent)
  • Japan
  • Canada
  • Norway
  • Austria
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • United Kingdom

Contact Address

Dipl.-Phys. Claas Rittinghaus
Heiligenstatt 23
A-5211 Friedburg
Tel.: +43 (7746) 28212 - 13