"We're back!" was the motto on everyone's lips, and the joy was great that they could meet again for the first time in four years in Hamburg at the world's largest international wind fair. The "German Wind Power Magazine" had many positive conversations during the event. After four difficult years - triggered by the previous federal government of Germany and two years of Covid pandemic - one could sense the spirit of optimism among German companies: Turbine manufacturers Nordex and Enercon presented their latest onshore turbines, each with a capacity of 6 MW. Drivetrain specialist Winergy exhibited its 44-tonne medium-speed HybridDrive, which – unlike its competitors – combines gearbox, generator and optional the coupling in one drive concept.
ADLS technology made in Germany
But Germany is not only a world leader in mechanical engineering. German technology is also in demand abroad in the field of ADLS (Aircraft Detection Lightning Systems). Germany is a pioneer here, because by the end of 2023 a large part of its wind farms will already be equipped with ADLS, thus ensuring dark nights and flight safety at the same time. Thomas Herrholz, CEO of Dark Sky, was pleased to see the great interest in the technology: "We have used the trade show in Hamburg to contact potential partners for our ADLS activities in markets outside Germany. There is a huge interest in our solution from abroad and we had a lot of good meetings about the topic." Parasol also had news in its luggage: The company from northern Germany, which specialises in passive radar systems, will in future offer a transponder solution in cooperation with the Hensoldt France SAS Group, which is also well suited for smaller wind farms.
The boom side effect: companies are desperately looking for skilled workers, especially in the fields of planning, technology, and operations.
From grid integration and drones
FGH, a company specialising in grid integration, not only benefits Germany with its know-how: "Our work is especially based on our long-term knowledge in supporting the grid integration of renewables in Germany for 30 years as well as on our active participation in European and international committees at ENTSO E, ACER, CENELEC as well as IEC," explains Managing Director Bernhard Schowe-von der Brelie. Already in 2019, an office was opened in Paris for the target markets of France and Belgium. Currently, projects are also being managed in Austria, Ireland, and Greece.
A lot is currently happening in the field of drone-based inspection of wind turbines. The Bavarian company TOPseven relies on Artificial Intelligence, which enables automated drone flights to be carried out independently by the plant operator.
Need for skilled workers - a challenge
But it was not only the halls where technical innovations were presented that were crowded with visitors. There was also a big crowd in the recruiting area. No wonder: in a recent representative survey conducted by the BWE among its members, around 95% of the companies answered that they were currently looking for employees. The sectors of "planning" and "technology" were particularly in demand (see chart).
Susanne Tauke, Marketing Team Leader at project developer Energiequelle, also reports on this trend: "This year alone we have taken on 80 new employees, and we are also constantly growing internationally. In addition to Finland and France, we have just opened an office in Poland and by 2025 we want to expand into other countries."
“An enthusiastic wind industry was finally back
in our exhibition halls – WindEnergy Hamburg was a huge success
for exhibitors, visitors and our team!”
Bernd Aufderheide, President and CEO of Hamburg Messe and Congress GmbH (HMC)
The operating company wpd Windmanager feels similarly: "Diversification is very important to us. On the one hand we rely on our long-established and stable markets such as France, Finland, Poland, or Croatia. On the other hand, this same stability and continuity allows us to gain a foothold in new existing and growth markets. In this way we are expanding our portfolio and growing sustainably", explains Henning Rüpke, Director International Operations.
Technical innovations, new projects, newly agreed cooperations and the hiring of new employees - the mood at the fair could hardly have been better. All this is a good sign for the environment. As Susanne Tauke from Energiequelle said so well: "The industry is growing, and that's a good thing. This is the only way the energy transition can succeed!"
WindEnergy Hamburg 2022
For four days, the world’s biggest event for onshore and offshore wind turned Hamburg into the international wind power hub. Over the four days, about 30,000 visitors from 92 countries attended the world’s leading wind industry expo, and more than 1,400 exhibitors from 37 countries showcased their products and services. Furthermore, 18 countries set up national pavilions, and delegations from more than 20 nations visited the fair.
Next date: 24.-27. September 2024
This Article is part of issue 04-2022 of the German Wind Power Magazine, the international magazine of the German Wind Energy Association (BWE) about innovations of the German wind industry. You can read the full magazine here, online and for free.
 47 BWE member companies were surveyed in 2022. You can find more information about the "BWE Workforce Initiative" here (German): https://www.wind-energie.de/aktuelles/arbeitsplatzinitiative/