The EWEA Annual Event 2012 in Copenhagen has now drawn to a close. But what were the main messages of the Chairs of the six themed “tracks” – from policy to financing – to the wind energy industry and politicians?
Uncertainty is very high in the market, in particular for the post-2020 years, Jan Serup Hylleberg, Chair of the policies and markets track, said at the final panel session on Thursday. “Long term stability and effective mechanisms are needed from the political side to grow the industry,” he said.
Meanwhile, the industry needs to focus on industrialisation, innovation and making turbines more intelligent, Henning Kruse, Chair of the technology track, said. The industry has committed to making wind power competitive with fossil fuels within this decade, but it needs the political support to do this, Kruse added.
Justin Wu, Chair of the financing track, said he was “generally optimistic” about financing for the industry, but in order to reach the 2020 targets new sources of financing must be mobilised. Investors need to be made aware of the attraction of wind projects, especially offshore wind, he said.
Excellent science in wind can deliver excellent economic performance, Peter Tavner, Chair of the science and research track, said. But there is a huge need for human capital to succeed, in particular in attracting young people to the industry.
From a grids point of view, Frans van Hulle, Chair of the grid integration track, said that there is no technical limit on how much wind can be integrated into the grid. The industry’s goals are technically feasible but we cannot deliver without transmission and grid integration, he said.
The past week — which has flown by in a flurry of meetings, debates, slide shows and discussions — also saw EWEA’s annual conference creating a new record: 10,281 people registered for the event and more than 500 people exhibited their products and services. To say it was busy would be an understatement.
Malgosia Bartosik, EWEA’s Membership & Events Director, was visibly pleased at how well the conference and exhibition turned out. Praising her staff for all their hard work, Bartosik said she had received many compliments on how sophisticated and professional the conference was.
“Just walking around the Bella Centre facility it was apparent that something quite special was happening inside,” Bartosik said. “People were challenging themselves to get more involved in the wind sector, people were networking and meeting new colleagues, people were laughing. Overall, it was quite an uplifting experience.”
Sue Mills, of the UK investment promotion agency Locate in Kent, was also pleased with the event. Mills, who is involved in promoting the County of Kent as a strategic place for the growing offshore wind energy to locate and expand operations in, said this year’s conference was the first time her organisation had attended the EWEA Annual Event. She added she fully expects to attend future EWEA conferences.
“We’ve never exhibited abroad before in a wind exhibition so it’s really created fantastic exposure to an international market,” Mills said. “We’ve had an enormous interest.”
Offshore WIND staff, April 23, 2012; Image: ewea