Bernd Aufderheide, President and CEO of Hamburg Messe und Congress, opened the joint press conference for WindEnergy Hamburg and the H2EXPO & CONFERENCE calling on politicians to take decisive action: “We need positive impetus and new perspectives to develop the wind and hydrogen sectors as rapidly as possible.” Since the beginning of the pandemic, the world has changed in many respects, he continued. "Disrupted supply chains, the Ukraine war, the consequences of the energy crisis, and the worsening effects of climate change are making it clear that we have to act. Under the heading of 'It's time to put climate first', our wide-ranging exhibition and conference programme provides the entire sector with a framework and place to meet, exchange views and ideas, and develop solutions."
To kick off WindEnergy Hamburg and the H2EXPO & CONFERENCE, the leading organisations of the wind industry presented their "Hamburg Declaration on Wind Power's Response to the Energy and Climate Crises”. The panel comprised representatives of the Global Wind Energy Councils (GWEC), the European industry association WindEurope, the federal organisation Bundesverband WindEnergie e.V. (BWE), and the German engineering industry association VDMA Power Systems. The initiative is also supported by the interdisciplinary Renewable Hydrogen Coalition.
Rapid market development highlights urgent need to take action
Ben Backwell, the CEO of GWEC, began his keynote by summarising the developments over the past, eventful years: "At the last, digital WindEnergy Hamburg, we were still trying to understand the effects of the global pandemic. What we have learned as representatives of the wind industry is that we are remarkably resilient – having seen the two most successful installation years in 2021 and 2022."
Björn Spiegel, BWE Vice President, summed up the challenges and opportunities facing the industry: "Over the past five years we have built 2.4 GW of onshore wind power, and 1.4 GW of offshore wind power per year on average. What we need now is 10 GW of onshore and 2.8 GW of offshore capacity each year.” This is equivalent to quadrupling onshore and doubling offshore wind power.
To achieve these goals, the entire value chain including the supply industry must make an extraordinary effort. Dr Dennis Rendschmidt, Managing Director of VDMA Power Systems, explained: "The competition for the lowest prices, along with insufficient market dynamics and supply chain issues have given rise to a trend which weakens Europe as a business place for the wind industry. Setting political expansion goals alone will not be enough to resolve these issues."
A point picked up by Ben Backwell who added: "To accelerate the expansion and unleash the full power of wind energy, governments must urgently streamline the planning and permitting processes, improve their network infrastructures, and further develop the power markets."
Key points of the Hamburg Declaration
According to Ben Backwell, wind power and other renewable energies, including Green Hydrogen, must be at the centre of political decision-making to create a reliable, long-term perspective for continuous expansion of wind energy. "Only clear and ambitious policy frameworks for the deployment of wind and renewable energy, with a long-term horizon of 10+ years, can help to align energy and climate goals with market forces," he stated.
Sven Utermöhlen, Chairman of WindEurope & CEO Offshore Wind of RWE Renewables, stressed the urgency of simplifying and de-bureaucratising the approval procedures for wind energy projects and pushing ahead with the digitalisation of approvals: “Accelerating the build-out of renewable energies is an important answer to the current energy crisis. Wind energy is clean, competitive, quickly deployable and scalable – be it on land or at sea. Wind energy deployment needs to rapidly scale up and the global wind supply chain needs to be in a position to deliver.” For him, it's also a question of grid planning, investment and infrastructure expansion to deliver, manage and store ever-increasing amounts of renewable energy. “Simplified, streamlined and digitalised permitting processes and an accelerated, coordinated and integrated grid expansion are essential preconditions for achieving this.”
Björn Spiegel said that the accelerated and reliable abandonment of fossil energies by governments was key to driving the expansion of renewable energies, with the market ramp-up of Green Hydrogen being a key element in creating a decarbonised energy supply system: "In aviation, shipping and those parts of the industry that cannot be electrified directly, governments must prioritise the uptake of renewable hydrogen."
Dr Dennis Rendschmidt put the spotlight on national and regional industrial policy, saying governments must recognise wind energy as a strategic sector in national and regional industrial policy while ensuring that turbine manufacturers and the wind supply chain have full and unrestricted access to the components and materials they need. Rendschmidt stressed: “Concrete industrial development plans and the right trade policies can allow the wind industry to plan for healthy and sustainable supply chain development.”
Green Hydrogen: Calling for government support and investments
The "Hamburg Declaration” calls on governments to avoid long-term reliance on fossil fuels and invest in renewable energies instead. François Paquet, Impact Director of the Renewable Hydrogen Coalition, expounded the importance of hydrogen for the development of renewable energies: "Green Hydrogen is a true enabler – it makes renewable energy storable. It takes energy where electrification cannot be implemented in the near term, allowing these sectors to be fully decarbonised. For the first time, Europe has a scalable, sustainable alternative at its disposal to reduce its dependence on imported fossil fuels while strengthening the European community."
According to Paquet, Europe needs more renewable energy to lower energy bills and reduce carbon emissions. Covering the current and future hydrogen requirement of heavy industries and the transport sector with renewable hydrogen requires additional production capacity. Change is needed at the European regulatory level, as well, he said: "Europe must do what is necessary now so we can produce Green Hydrogen using domestic renewable energies. To accomplish that, we need three things: We must generate the demand, increase the supply, and close the cost gap. As far as demand is concerned, Europe is currently considering setting binding targets for key sectors. This is the right approach. On the supply side, we need rapid approvals, healthy value chains, and above all, simple but robust EU-wide harmonised regulations for the production of Green Hydrogen. This is the key to making financial support accessible, encouraging investments, and accelerating market ramp-up."
WindEnergy Hamburg discusses the pressing issues of our time
The panel experts agreed that accelerating the development of renewable energies is key to a secure, carbon-neutral energy supply for the world. Achieving this not only takes the right political decisions but also courage and involvement on the part of key industry players. One effort to promote the dialogue between both sides is the Political Summit on the first day of WindEnergy Hamburg. It features guests such as Dr Robert Habeck, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs And Climate Protection, and other high-ranking government representatives from around the world as well as numerous industry and association representatives. Furthermore, fair visitors can attend free discussion panels and speeches involving industry experts, numerous politicians as well as representatives of the scientific community on WindEnergy Hamburg's four Open Stages.
WindEnergy Hamburg opens from 10:00am to 06:00pm Tuesday 27 September to Thursday 29 September, and from 10:00am to 04:00pm on Friday 30 September.