Buzz words over the coming days will be new sizes of turbines, sinking costs, increasing efficiency and digital integration, said Hermann Albers, president of German wind energy association BWE (Bundesverband Windenergie).
But, for Germany we also need to make clear to politicians what is needed to achieve both the Paris climate targets and national targets, he said.
"Germany needs net growth volumes of some 5GW per year" – considerably more than the current target of 2.8GW per year gross.
On top of that, BWE is driving for renewable energy act reform to allow project owners and industry, commercial and municipal utility consumers to explore the potential of power purchase agreements (PPAs) for wind energy, a fairly new concept to Germany.
Initially, the aim is for a flexible mechanism for additional new German project capacity to try out PPAs that are longer than the mere 3-5 years being arranged for older sites moving beyond the 20-year Renewable Energy Act support system, and that have power prices higher than the low rates seen in Scandinavia.
When piloting such PPAs, risk would be reduced by allowing a return to the support mechanism, if needed.
Philippe Kavafyan, CEO of offshore turbine manufacturer MHI Vestas, spoke out against trade barriers, arguing that for onshore wind, globalisation has brought big cost reductions and led to massive wind installations on all continents.
In contrast, the offshore wind sector has a more regional focus, be it in Asia or in Europe, he said.
Poor preparation for climate change was a concern for Gunnar Groebler, senior vice president of energy company Vattenfall’s wind business.
He pointed to conventional power stations curtailing output or closing down in Europe over the summer because river cooling water was too warm, or because water levels in waterways and rivers was too low to transport coal.
He praised the wind industry for playing a central role in broadening the transition to ever more reliance on renewable energies in some countries, either by getting political support to set the ball rolling, or by pushing for sector coupling of wind energy for heating and mobility solutions.
"We need bold movers so we don‘t get stuck before each new political election," he said.
Anja-Isabel Dotzenrath, CEO of E.on Climate & Renewables, stressed the importance of digitalisation to increase turbine output, reduce costs, prolong turbine lifetimes and ensure safer operation. It also brings flexibility, she said.
"If we have 50% of cars in Germany running on electricity by 2030, we will have additional electricity demand of 260GWh per day. Only a digital solution can ensure this demand does not hit the networks all at once," she said.
Hans-Dieter Kettwig, managing director of German OEM Enercon, stressed: "It's now a case of yes or no to the future of the planet."
He urged for clear political action to bring together and make use of wind sectors‘ know-how with other sectors to ensure substantial progress against climate change within the next 12 to 15 years.
Kettwig highlighted the need for more action on expanding the electricity networks and in the storage sector.
"Enercon, Vestas and others — we know how to build wind turbines and reduce costs — the next step is storage," he said.