In a digital press conference, industry experts from all around Europe assessed the wind industry's current situation, the effects of the pandemic and the importance of the EU Green Deal, giving an outlook on the sector's future
June 04, 2020. By News Bureau
The coronavirus pandemic affects all aspects of life and the economy. At a press conference in preparation of WindEnergy Hamburg, the world’s leading wind industry expo, experts discussed the current situation and its global impact on the wind energy industry. Speakers from all around Europe participated in the conference.
The decision to reschedule WindEnergy Hamburg for December was made in May. The team at Hamburg Messe is working vigorously on the development of safety concepts to ensure a successful trade fair for exhibitors and visitors alike. In addition, the exhibition will feature both digital and hybrid presentation formats, with broad backing across the industry. “We got a lot of positive feedback from our exhibitors who support our plans for the new December dates. It gives them a more solid basis for organising and planning. So the vast majority of exhibitors and all of the big manufacturers will stay on board and the number of cancellations has actually been quite low. We are of course very happy about that and confident that we have made the right decision,” said Bernd Aufderheide, President and CEO, Hamburg Messe und Congress GmbH.
All speakers gave a positive view of the sector’s prospects while calling upon governments to take specific action. The digital discussion panel included top-level representatives from the business world, politics and industry organisations providing insights into all areas of the sector.
Global upswing despite coronavirus
While the pandemic and the resulting lockdown measures have disrupted supply chains, hampered investments and brought wind power projects to a temporary halt, energy production from existing wind farms has been stable over the past months. “Covid-19 is undoubtedly proving a challenge for the wind industry affecting the global supply chain, manufacturing and project execution. But the crisis is also showing the resilience of the sector, which has continued to provide affordable and clean energy throughout,” said Dr. Markus M. Tacke, Chairman of VDMA Power Systems and CEO of Siemens Gamesa.
Giles Dickson, CEO of WindEurope and co-organiser of WindEnergy Hamburg, pointed out that wind energy has become the most economical energy source in many parts of the world: “New models for offshore wind turbines have reached scales no one had expected some years ago, with single turbines of 12 MW and more. Floating wind is on about to getting ready for commercial market entry.”
Thorsten Herdan, Director General Energy, Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, added: “In Germany, the electricity due to COVID-19 has pushed the share of renewables and wind energy in the electricity sector to new hights. So far, more than 55% of total electricity production in 2020 is renewable – wind alone makes up for a third of electricity production in 2020. And we have observed no problems with grid stability. This shows that our system is capable to adopt very high shares of renewables.”
Renewable energy is part of the EU recovery plan
The speakers agreed that the wind industry plays a crucial role in fighting the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic. “COVID-19 is a huge hit to the EU economy. Last week the EU Recovery Plan singled out wind and other renewables as ‘policy fundamentals of the recovery’. And wind will deliver. It is cheap, reliable and already 15 percent of Europe’s electricity. The EU wants it to be 50 percent by 2050. That means huge investments. It means investing now. It means the jobs and growth that are needed now. The EU is unleashing all its firepower to drive a green recovery - €1.85 trillion. WindEnergy Hamburg in December will show how wind can make this count,” said Giles Dickson.
Dr. Markus M. Tacke voiced an explicit call to action: “Now is the time to build on this platform by investing in a true Green Recovery that can stimulate economic growth and job creation.”
And Thorsten Herdan added: “In Germany, the electricity due to COVID-19 has pushed the share of renewables and wind energy in the electricity sector to new hights. So far, more than 55% of total electricity production in 2020 is renewable – wind alone makes up for a third of electricity production in 2020. And we have observed no problems with grid stability. This shows that our system is capable to adopt very high shares of renewables”
Ben Backwell, CEO of the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC), said that wind energy has demonstrated its dependability in the current crisis and deserves to be trusted: “The wind industry has proven itself to be resilient during the COVID-19 crisis, providing reliable and cost-competitive energy to power our society as the world is in lockdown.” China holds great promise, as well: “GWEC forecasted 2020 to be a record year for wind installations, and while the current crisis will impact these projections, we still see countries like China, the biggest wind market in the world, to surpass even our pre-COVID forecasts.” Backwell called on politics to provide support: “Governments across the world must leverage the resilience and huge potential of the wind power sector to generate investment, create jobs and renew critical infrastructure like grids and ports to power a green recovery.”
When WindEnergy Hamburg launches in six months, it will be the industry's first gathering after the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis. The speakers were unanimous in stressing the enormous opportunities this global trade event opens up: „WindEnergy Hamburg is the worldwide platform for wind energy – both on- and offshore. On the way back to the new normal, we need to refocus on solutions and products needed for a sustainable economy, on a global scale. WindEnergy Hamburg provides the required stage and is therefore essential for our industry,” said Dr. Markus M. Tacke. Bernd Aufderheide emphasised: "WindEnergy Hamburg will be a catalyst for the energy transition. In December we will provide the wind industry with a platform to network, share key information, and work on new ideas."
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