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World’s biggest wind energy event kicks off in Hamburg

The world’s biggest wind energy event, the Global Wind Summit (25-28 September), begins today in Hamburg. Under the theme “Breaking new ground” the event will show wind energy is starting to evolve rapidly in terms of costs, technology and where it’s being deployed – and how it’s beginning to look beyond the electricity sector at how it can help decarbonise the rest of the energy system.

The Global Wind Summit – consisting of the WindEnergy Hamburg expo and the WindEurope Conference – will bring together more than 1,400 exhibitors, 500 speakers and presenters and a star line-up of energy ministers and CEOs from around the world. Also taking part are EU Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete, IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol, and the Director General of BusinessEurope, Markus Beyrer.

“Wind has a critical role to play in the world’s energy mix. It already accounts for almost 5% of electricity generation today, but its potential is much greater. With ongoing cost declines and the right government policies, it could become a leading source of generation globally in the coming decades,” explained Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency.

Throughout the course of this week, the world’s largest wind industry event will highlight of one of the world’s most innovation-driven sectors. The wind industry is now a dynamic global force – creating jobs, transforming local economies and decarbonising the world’s energy mix. The Global Wind Summit will build on the pioneering achievements of the industry and set the agenda for the further evolution of wind energy and the contribution it makes to society.

“About 35,000 industry visitors from 100 countries are expected to attend the Global Wind Summit,” explained Bernd Aufderheide, President and CEO of Hamburg Messe und Congress. “The whole industry onshore and offshore is represented at WindEnergy Hamburg by more than 1400 exhibitors hailing from more than 40 different countries. There are no less than 16 wind turbine manufacturers; for the first time, Mingyang from China and Suzlon from India. The international portion of companies has grown from 44% in 2016 to 50% today. There will be a number of new countries this year, including South Africa, Australia, Iceland, Latvia and Lithuania.” Running alongside the world’s leading expo is the WindEurope 2018 conference. “Wind energy is re-shaping the global energy mix and finding new ways of bringing clean energy to citizens, industry and wider society. The conference will look at how wind is breaking new ground. About how we’re harnessing the power of digitalisation, finding new ways of financing wind farms, exploring new technologies such as floating offshore wind and how wind can help electrify Europe’s energy system. We’ve got over 500 speakers lined up, including top figures from government, industry, finance and academia,” explained WindEurope CEO Giles Dickson.

Speaking about the event, Anja-Isabel Dotzenrath, Chief Executive Officer, E.ON Climate & Renewables said: “The global trend for digitalisation is increasingly shaping many parts of the economy. It’s also set to transform how the wind industry works and is crucial for a successful system integration of wind power. Digitalisation will help to smooth out power demand through storage and demand side management. It is becoming a cost reduction enabler and will help our industry to further mature”.

Hans-Dieter Kettwig, Managing Director, Enercon said: “Wind energy is breaking new ground in terms of going beyond simply providing clean and affordable electricity. Decarbonising the world’s energy mix means fully exploiting the potential of renewables by getting much more wind into electricity but also the transport and building sectors. The Global Wind Summit is where we can set the agenda for electrification to plan for a cleaner, greener world”.

Philippe Kavafyan, Chief Executive Officer, MHI Vestas said: “The wind industry has made enormous progress in recent years to become an affordable, large-scale clean energy source. When you combine technology innovation with valuable gains in experience, plus a scale-up in volume, you get the historic price reductions we are seeing today. These drivers will be increasingly important as wind energy moves toward a merchant environment.”

Dr. Markus Tacke, Chairman VDMA Power Systems and CEO Siemens Gamesa: “The Global Wind Summit is a showcase for our industry, which has made wind energy a strong pillar of power supply in Germany and Europe. Hamburg will send out the signal that we can achieve much more with the 140,000 innovative employees in Germany and their colleagues throughout Europe. With the so called “German Energy Transition Laboratory” we want to show that wind energy is much more than just electricity for the socket. In the future, it will not only be used to power cars, but also to produce steel and to heat a big number of houses. In order to successfully complete the transition, society and authorities need to embrace climate and commercial.”

Hermann Albers, President, Bundesverband WindEnergie e.V., said: “For the German wind industry, digitalisation and sector coupling are no empty phrases. Our companies are already experimenting with power-to-gas applications, successfully installing quick chargers to electrify the mobility sector or using digital solutions within service and maintenance processes. The German wind industry is ready and willing to take over more responsibility for the overall energy system.”

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