Counting around 30,000 visitors from 92 countries, WindEnergy Hamburg, the world’s flagship fair of the wind industry, demonstrated its leading role in driving the expansion of renewable energy internationally. In his keynote speech during the opening event, Dr Robert Habeck, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Action, stressed 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, President and CEO Hamburg Messe und Congress, likewise emphasised how urgently this event was needed: “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 an energy and climate crisis. Once again it became clear that renewable energy can be one of the keys to overcoming our challenges, and the H2EXPO & CONFERENCE is a perfect match for what WindEnergy Hamburg stands for.”
Digitalisation of permitting processes and the accelerated upgrading 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, which took place on 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 forums, designed for intense knowledge transfer, were organised jointly 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 topics presented on the stages prompted animated conversations and encouraged the audience to share thoughts and ideas both during and after the panel discussions.
H2EXPO & CONFERENCE to take place annually
With 60 exhibiting companies, the hydrogen sector was represented prominently at the H2EXPO & CONFERENCE, a game changer for the turn away from fossil fuels. The extraordinary combination of highly innovative, state-of-the-art technologies and processes with a multifaceted presentation programme in a separate hall was met with much interest.
“The conference stage was attended very well and appreciated very much on all days. The attendees showed enormous interest in the discussions and speeches of 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. His assessment is supported by the numbers: 88 per cent of visitors praised the conference programme enthusiastically.
On the second day of the fair, a cooperation agreement was signed between the northern German hydrogen networks, in which the partners committed to cooperating on hydrogen projects closely and regularly and providing joint support to stakeholders of the hydrogen industry. To support the international, cross-sector ramp-up of the hydrogen market, the H2EXPO & CONFERENCE will take place annually, offering a platform for innovation drivers from politics and business in Hamburg.
Positive responses from associations
The participating national and international industry organisations were unanimous in drawing a positive conclusion of the four-day fair. 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 sights of our main goals: To ensure energy security for our industries and people and at the same time to reduce the impacts of climate change. Therefore, we need more renewables and we need more Wind Power – and WindEnergy Hamburg is exactly the right place to bring the people together who effects the necessary developments as fast as possible.”
Ben Backwell, CEO of the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC), summed up his impressions: “The success of this week’s fair has surpassed all expectation. 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), similarly expressed strong satisfaction: “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 as what they are: the 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.”
The industry visitors likewise gave top marks to the event: 97 per cent said their expectations in WindEnergy Hamburg had been fully met. The most important reasons given for attending this fair included a strong need for information about new products and trends, getting a better general understanding of the market, and seizing the opportunities to network, establish new business ties and renew existing ones.
The next H2EXPO & CONFERENCE takes place on 26 and 27 September 2023.
The next WindEnergy Hamburg will take place from 24 to 27 September 2024.
Find more statements from exhibiting companies here.