Erik Lundtang Petersen

Outstanding scientific contribution to wind energy meteorology and leading role in the creation of the European Wind Atlas

Erik Lundtang Petersen was selected as Laureate of the EMS Silver Medal 2021 for his outstanding scientific contribution to wind energy meteorology and his leading role in the creation of the European Wind Atlas which is regarded as a major contribution to the future of European resilience.

Silver Medal Lecture: “Wind Energy Meteorology for Sustainable Development“

Erik Lundtang Petersen has been instrumental in developing the meteorological/climatological discipline “Wind Power Meteorology”. He led the work that resulted in the “Danish Wind Atlas”. Together with the Danish Meteorological Institute, Erik and his co-workers developed the “Wind Atlas Methodology” based on basic meteorological principles which enables wind power developers to calculate the wind climate at any place in Denmark. It helped to increase the public understanding of the nature of the wind and its dependence of terrain roughness and orography. The concept “Wind Atlas Method” is now recognized worldwide.

Erik, in cooperation with various European meteorological organizations, led the European Commission’s project “European Wind Atlas”. After eight years of researching and developing new wind climatological methodologies, the work was successfully completed with the publication of “The European Wind Atlas” in five languages. The new methodologies were made publicly available in 1987 through the “Wind Atlas and Analysis Programme” (WAsP). A New European Wind Energy Atlas was finalized in 2019 and the methodologies and statistics have also been made publicly available.

One of Erik’s merits is his long-standing commitment to improving the general understanding of the importance of meteorology and climatology for any wind energy project and the development and utilization of wind energy. He has also been active in communicating the importance of understanding the atmospheric turbulence in the boundary layer and its interaction with structures such as wind turbines. The first large turbines failed due to the constructor’s lack of this understanding.

A constant thread through his scientific work is the urge to understand atmospheric turbulence, especially in the atmospheric boundary layer. This included the fundamental understanding of turbulence as well as its influence on air pollution, construction of building structures and wind energy. Erik’s research has always been based on a combination of methodical analysis, numerical modelling and, most importantly, experimental work. Almost everyone in the world who works with wind energy, from designing wind turbines to regional planning of wind farms, makes use of research that has been carried out under Erik’s leadership.

Employments and services to the meteorological community

  • Head of the Meteorology Section at Risø, 1977–1985.
  • Head of the Meteorology and Wind Energy Department, 1985–2009.
  • Research Professor Emeritus. Department of Wind Energy, Technical University of Denmark 2015.
  • One of the founders of the Danish Meteorological Society, 1979.
  • One of the founders of The Danish Research Consortium for Wind Energy, 2000.
  • One of the founders of the European Academy of Wind Energy, 2003. President 2005.
  • One of the founders of the European Renewable Energy Centers Agency, 2001.
  • European Wind Energy Technological Platform and the European Wind Initiative: Chairman of the Working Group on Wind Conditions, 2006–2012.
  • Chairman of the scientific Subprogram for Wind Conditions in the European Energy Research Alliance (EERA), 2006–2014.
  • One of the founding editors of the Wiley & Sons journal “Wind Energy”. Editor 1998–2006.

Professional activities

  • Research of boundary-layer meteorology, simulation of atmospheric turbulence, time-series analysis, remote sensing, wind energy surveys, wind turbine siting, climatology, wind power meteorology in general.
  • Consultant to Danish companies, Danida, UNDP, WB, WMO on wind energy assessment, wind turbine siting, meteorological measurement programs.
  • Coordinator of the Danish Wind Atlas for the Ministry of Commerce and the Utilities, 1977–1981.
  • Coordinator of the European Wind Atlas for the European Commission, 1982–1989.
  • Coordinator of the European Project “Flow in Complex Terrain” for the European Commission, 1990–1999.
  • Steering Committee member and chairman of Working Group 1 on Wind Conditions. European Wind.
  • Energy Technological Platform and the European Wind Initiative, 2007–2014.

Education

Ph.D. 1973 from the Technical University of Denmark: Meteorology, climatology, atmospheric turbulence, fluid mechanics.

M.Sc. 1970 from the Technical University of Denmark: Civil engineering, hydrology, hydraulics, fluid mechanics. Oceanography and meteorology at University of Copenhagen and climatology at the Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University at Copenhagen.

Periods of external research visits

  • 1973 – 1974: Research associate, Meteorology Department, Pennsylvania State University
  • Postdoctoral fellow, Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Program, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Massachusetts, Visiting Scientist, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder Colorado
  • 1982: Visiting professor at the Department of Oceanography at Oregon State University, Corvallis (3 months)
  • 1985: Visiting scientist at Centre Scientifique et Technique du Batiment, Nantes, France (2 months)
  • 1987: Visiting scientist at Istituto Fisica dell’Atmosfera, Rome, Italy (2 months)
  • 1991: Visiting scientist at Universidade do Porto, Portugal (2 months)
  • 1993, 1994: German Research Council professor at Department of Meteorology and Climatology, University of Karlsruhe (2 months)

Scientific Committees (national and international)

  • Committee on Environmental Impact of Wind Energy Projects. National Research Council of the National Academies. USA. (2005-2006).
  • The Danish Committees on Scientific Dishonesty. (UVVU). 2006 – 2010.
  • Member of Advisory Board for Fluid Dynamic Group, University of Porto, 2005 – 2015.
  • Member of Board of Directors for WESNet, Canada, (2008 – 2014).

Honours and Awards

  • DONG (Danish Oil and Natural Gas, now Ørsted) Grant of Honour (2002).
  • Poul la Cour prize (2007). The European Wind Energy Association (Now WindEurope).

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