Most visitors left WindEnergy 2022 with three impressions. Their first impression: a very well-attended fair that lived up to its claim to be a globally leading trade fair. With 30,000 visitors, the organisers almost reached the pre-pandemic level, although fewer visitors from Asia were able to attend. The 1,400 exhibitors significantly exceeded the level of WindEnergy 2018. So Messe Hamburg was more than satisfied.
Their second impression: following three pandemic-affected years and numerous digital stopgaps, it was really great to be able to maintain so many customer contacts in person again – this time almost entirely without any coronavirus restrictions, such as face coverings. All the visitors were visibly happy about being able to experience an almost normal trade fair again after three years.
Their third impression: the German and international wind sector is caught between a fresh start and frustration. Following the Paris Agreement and the outbreak of war in Ukraine, many countries have agreed very high expansion targets for renewable energies – including and most prominently wind power. At the same time, implementation continues to make slow and sluggish progress in many countries, including Germany. We continue to sign any tenders for onshore wind farms, as there are not enough approved wind farms to bid for contracts. Many of the approved wind farms are being sued, so they do not bid for tenders. Once a contract has been awarded, wind farms have to be built within a certain deadline – otherwise there are painful penalties to be paid. What company would take this risk when legal proceedings are ongoing? And all this with considerable challenges in the supply chain plus sharply rising material costs.
This difficult situation requires concerted action: identifying more areas for wind farms; increasing the number of staff at approval authorities so that approval procedures can (and must) be implemented more quickly and within fixed deadlines; faster legal proceedings and the dynamic adjustment of payments awarded to wind farms in light of rising commodity prices. During the energy crisis triggered by the war in Ukraine, “Renewables first!” must apply; federal and state governments must now work together and do their utmost to achieve this!