It’s Time To Put Climate First: WindEnergy Hamburg and H2EXPO & CONFERENCE lend powerful impetus to the expansion of renewable energies
This year’s WindEnergy Hamburg ended with the entire wind energy and hydrogen production sector signalling a strong sense of optimism and anticipation. On Hamburg’s exhibition campus, over 1,400 international exhibitors showcased the full range of innovations and solutions the on- and offshore wind sector has to offer. The idea of bringing together all the key players from the renewable energies sector at WindEnergy Hamburg and H2EXPO & CONFERENCE was enthusiastically welcomed by trade visitors, exhibiting companies and associations alike. The comprehensive conference programme met the information needs of the market and received excellent feedback.
With around 30,000 visitors from 92 countries, WindEnergy Hamburg, the world’s flagship fair of the wind industry, impressively demonstrated its leading role in driving the international expansion of renewable energy. In his keynote speech during the opening event, Dr Robert Habeck, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Action, emphasised the importance of the event saying: “It is a great pleasure to open the world’s leading trade fair for onshore and offshore wind energy here in Hamburg. The roll-out of wind energy and the expansion of renewable energy in general has become more urgently needed and more important than ever. An accelerated energy transition is the key to a secure and sustainable energy supply, not only in Germany, but right across Europe.”
Bernd Aufderheide, CEO of Hamburg Messe und Congress, also emphasised the importance of WindEnergy Hamburg: “After four years without WindEnergy Hamburg, we are excited to see well-filled exhibition halls again and experience an unreservedly positive mood. The global wind energy industry was in urgent need of an opportunity to meet in person and discuss the pressing issues in these times of energy and climate crisis. Once again it became clear that renewable energy can be one of the keys to overcoming our challenges and that H2EXPO & CONFERENCE is a perfect match for what WindEnergy Hamburg stands for.”
Digitalisation of approval processes and the accelerated expansion of electricity grids were among the key topics addressed by the flagship fair, as were wind turbine upscaling and floating offshore wind turbines. This year’s WindEnergy Hamburg was more international than ever: the share of international exhibitors, hailing from 37 different countries, was as high as 55 per cent.
Conference programme drew visitors in droves
For the first time, participation in the conference programme on the four open stages right in the middle of the exhibition halls was free of charge for all fair visitors. 78 per cent of visitors said they had taken advantage of the varied conference programme. These knowledge transfer hotspots were jointly organised by WindEnergy Hamburg and its national and international partners, Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC), the European industry association WindEurope, the federal organisation Bundesverband WindEnergie e.V. (BWE) and the German engineering industry association VDMA Power Systems. The wide-ranging content presented on the stages prompted animated conversations and exchanges both during and after the panel discussions.
H2EXPO & CONFERENCE to take place annually
With 60 exhibiting companies, the hydrogen sector presented itself at H2EXPO & CONFERENCE as a game changer for the abandonment of fossil fuels. The successful combination of highly innovative, state-of-the-art technologies and processes with a multifaceted presentation programme in a separate hall was extremely well received.
“The H2EXPO & CONFERENCE stage was well attended on all days. The attendees showed enormous interest in the discussions and speeches by representatives from business and politics about the latest trends and the future of the international hydrogen economy,” summarised Hamburg Messe und Congress CEO, Bernd Aufderheide. The numbers support this: 88 per cent of visitors praised the conference programme.
On the second day of the fair, a cooperation agreement was signed between the northern German hydrogen networks, in which the partners committed to increased, regular cooperation and joint support for stakeholders in the hydrogen industry. To assist the international, cross-sector ramp-up of the hydrogen market, H2EXPO & CONFERENCE will take place annually in future, offering a platform for innovation drivers from politics and business in Hamburg.
Positive feedback from associations
The participating national and international industry organisations were unanimous in drawing a positive conclusion of the four-day event. Sven Utermöhlen, Chairman of WindEurope and CEO of the Offshore Wind division of RWE Renewables, said: “In these times of massive economic challenges, we must not lose sight of our main goals: to ensure energy security for our industries and people at home and at the same time to reduce the impacts of climate change. Therefore, we need more renewables and more wind power – and WindEnergy Hamburg is exactly the right place to bring those people together who bring about the necessary developments as fast as possible.”
Ben Backwell, CEO of the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC), reported: “The success of this week’s fair has surpassed all expectations. The appetite of governments and industry to take advantage of the huge opportunities in the wind industry’s major and emerging markets was evident. From the huge crowds at GWEC’s Global Markets Theatre all the way through to busy stands up and down the conference centre, the industry’s readiness to rapidly scale up and deliver on the ambitious targets set by countries across the globe, was clear.”
Björn Spiegel, Vice President of Bundesverband Windenergie e.V. (BWE), was also impressed: “Gathering for WindEnergy Hamburg again for the first time in four years really feels good, especially in a year that is so important for our industry. We can see that the industry clearly understands the political decisions made in Berlin for what they are: confirmation that wind energy is the powerful and reliable future source of the bulk of our energy. No wonder the mood at this international industry show was decidedly optimistic in a way we haven’t experienced for many years.”
Dr Dennis Rendschmidt, Managing Director of VDMA Power Systems, added: "Wind energy is the key to resilience, security of supply and climate neutrality in the energy system. I am thrilled by the spirit of optimism, dynamism and agility that could be felt here on every square metre of the trade fair. The political will for the ambitious expansion targets is a great opportunity for the industry and must now be supported with concrete political measures.”
Trade visitors also awarded top marks to the event: 97 per cent said their expectations of WindEnergy Hamburg had been fully met. The most important reasons given for attending this fair included a heightened need for information about new products and trends, the opportunity to network and gain a general understanding of the market, as well as establishing new business contacts and maintaining existing ones.
The next WindEnergy Hamburg will take place from 24 to 27 September 2024.
More reaction from the exhibiting companies is available here.