Hamburg – The theme for the 16th Hamburg Offshore Wind Conference 2019 (HOW 2019) was “From ‘if’ to HOW – ready to realise an ambitious renewables road map”.
The conference was attended by policymakers and stakeholders in the international offshore wind industry. Key items on the agenda were the current status of the Energiewende (energy transition, i.e. the transition to renewable energy), technical innovations in the construction, operation and maintenance of wind energy plants, the expansion of the grid and funding. This was the third time that the HOW was organised jointly by the Renewable Energy Hamburg Cluster (EEHH) and the international energy advisory and certification body, DNV GL.
Participants at the conference called on the German Federal Government to set higher expansion targets for offshore wind energy plants. They also demanded greater cooperation at European level. The event was very well attended with more than 200 participants.
Jan Rispens, Managing Director of Erneuerbare Energien Hamburg Clusteragentur GmbH, traced the development of offshore wind energy in Germany and claimed that an increase in capacity to 20 GW by 2035 was a realistic goal for the industry. He said that there were no alternatives to this, but an appropriate legal basis was needed.
Ditlev Engel, Chairman of DNV GL Energy opened the conference. In his presentation, he reminded the audience that it was not only the Federal Government that had an important role to play but also that companies like IKEA, Amazon and Google were making a vital contribution to the success of the energy transition through their investment in renewable energy.
Following the recent Fridays for Future protests, Hamburg’s First Mayor, Dr Peter Tschentscher, delivered an important speech on the opening evening. He noted that Hamburg was a centre of excellence for offshore wind energy in Germany: the city has the potential to completely replace fossil fuels. He also referenced the city’s ambitious goal, together with the state of Schleswig-Holstein, to meet 100% of regional energy requirements with renewable energy by 2030. Approximately two-thirds of the energy required could be generated from wind energy, with one-third coming from solar energy.
He argued in favour of developing power-to-X technology and scaling it up to industrial level. He called for courage and optimism in upscaling pilot projects and insisted that time was of the essence.
He also reiterated the call for a national energy master plan in Germany that would incorporate the mobility and building heat energy markets and capture all the interdependencies of the various aspects of life. He said that lessons needed to be learned from the yellow vest protests in France: careful regulation of electricity prices was crucial in order to ensure that broad swathes of the population did not mobilise against the energy transition. Moreover, the competitiveness of domestic industry should not be put at risk. He noted that it was crucial for science, business and the city of Hamburg to cooperate.