AWEA Liveblog Day 3

The final day of Windpower Monthly's blog from the AWEA Windpower 2012 conference in Atlanta, covering launches and events as they happen. If you're at the event, please visit Windpower Monthly at stand 1563 Hall A.

1530 Eastern US time

For wind veteran Bruce Bailey, president and CEO of AWS Truepower, the conference content and mood has been a positive sign of the times: "It's healthy. People are re-setting their expectations."

A key figure in the wind industry for 35 years, Dr Bailey says he has seen the US industry go through many ups and downs.

"This is a serious one --with the economic crisis, and the  discovery of low-cost natural gas. The fundamentals have changed. But that doesn't mean there isn't a future. It's just a different future."

That's it for another year! 

Windpower 2013 is from May 5-8 in Chicago.

1500 Eastern US time

Reflections on the exhibition floor, as it packs up:

There seemed to be fewer small companies than last year, and there is evidence of some mergers and acquisitions with a few companies showing under a new name this year - Hansen, for example, is now under the name ZF.

Many companies are reporting that the number of visitors to their stands is down, but they are making good contacts.

Sewall, a site preparation firm, says it has been talking to clients about projects for 2014-15. And power transmission firm Centra has been talking to smaller start-ups that are looking at small turbines of 100kW size.

Suppliers of products and services across the exhibition included:

* More than 450 component suppliers;

* Almost 200 operations and maintenance suppliers;

* 42 academic and non-profit institutions;

* About 26 blade manufacturers;

* 33 manufacturers of large-scale wind turbines;

* 64 wind forecasting firms;

* 47 computer software suppliers.

1435 Eastern US time

Mircosoft and Sprint, the US telcom giant, have delivered a letter to the leadership of the US Congress asking for an extension of the federal Production Tax Credit. The companies' combined annual revenues are a mere $100 billion-plus. That's according to an AWEA announcement made at Windpower 2012.  

They join 15 other major US companies and consumer brands - including Campbell's Soup, Yahoo! and Hewlett-Packard - that have commited to purchasing more renewable energy and that have endorsed a PTC extension. 

The PTC campaign is in full swing. Just in the last three days, politicians in Congress have reportedly received some 20,000 contacts from their constituents via AWEA's action network, powerofwind.com.

1330 Eastern US time

There's just 90 minutes to go before the exhibition closes.

Robert Brennan, who's managing the Sany Electric Co. 40MW project being built right now in Oregon, surveyed the floor and said he is quietly confident. "The exhibit's been quiet but effective," he said. "The quality of people... they've been real. There's not many tyre-kickers - or speculators - here."

1230 Eastern US time

It's official  -- the Windpower 2012 conference and exhibition in Atlanta drew more than 900 exhibitors. AWEA has not yet released an official figure for attendance.

1100 Eastern US time

A few takeaways from the forum of large wind turbine manufacturers debating the US market:

* The 2013 market could be down by 80% on this year, said Duncan Koerbel, interim CEO of of Suzlon in the US.

* Gamesa is aiming to decrease the cost of energy by 30% by 2015, said Borja Negro, CEO of Gamesa Technology Corp.

* Energy storage is the holy grail of renewable energy, concluded moderator Adam Umanoff from Akin Gump, the law firm.

* When speakers were asked what other markets are being visited during the difficult next couple of years of the US market, Canada and Latin America featured prominently. In addition, Vestas' Christian Venderby pointed to the ongoing need for service and after-market work in the US, Harm Toren of Mitsubishi noted the market for maintenance and for technologies for offshore, and Michael Revak of Siemens also highlighted the offshore market in Europe.

1000 Eastern US time

The rumour - on the shuttle bus to the conference - is that attendance figures could be 12,000 to 13,000, down from some 16,000 a year ago at Windpower 2011 in Anaheim. Official AWEA figures are expected in a couple of hours. We'll keep you posted.

0900 Eastern US time

It's the closing day and fourth day of Windpower 2012, and the mood is becoming apparent. It's a mixed bag, to say the least.

On the exhibit floor, not everyone is seeing much business potential.

For Bill Wilson of MH&W International Corp., a US-based supplier of components made in Germany and Hungary, the number of serious customers at the company's booth has dropped perhaps 90% compared with previous years.

"It was horrible," he said of the first two days of the exhibit. "But Tuesday was better."

Bruce Hamilton, of the Navigant consultancy, describes the conference as sober. 

"It's a good conference, although attendance is down. I think there's a surprising amount of optimism. People are beginning to face reality -- 2013 will be a lost year, so they must pick up in 2014."

He adds: "The major players are in it for the long-term. They're not going to live or die in the US."

Summary of previous day

Day two kicked off with Denise Bode, American Wind Energy Association's CEO moderating Democrat Robert Gibbs and Republican Karl Rove in a discussion on political perspectives on energy and the presidency - and agreement on need for wind power and the production tax credit extension was evident.

There have been few significant launches of new products.

In conference sessions, financing was a key focus, and more than one debate discussed the growing issue of repowering of existing turbines in the US. "Some 8000 wind turbines in the US are now 20 years old," said Matt Kaplan of IHS Emerging Energy Research

Today starts with a popular forum of large wind turbine manufacturers. It looks at supply chains, global competitiveness for the US industry, and policy and transmission.

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