While the Suzlon booth won hands down for expansive elegance -- and the most welcoming cup of coffee -- the footfall on the eye-catching Vestas booth looked set to wear out its carpets by the final Saturday. Its cinema show and free goodies had the Chinese lining the aisles at one point, as if queuing for a Hollywood world premiere.
With thinly veiled references to industrial espionage a sub-theme of the event, not one foreign turbine supplier displayed more of its products than a few small-scale plastic models. Just two Chinese companies were prepared to have the contents of their nacelles minutely photographed from several angles, Shanghai Electric and Jiangsu Futiannordwind. Futiannordwind displayed a two-blade wind turbine of German origin which first appeared in the mid 1990s, but was never commercialised. Production of it has yet to start in China, says the company. Shanghai Electric, however, intends to become a serious contender and with German wind turbine design consultancy Aerodyn is developing a 2 MW turbine (page 65).
Among other Chinese wind turbine manufacturers present on the floor, Goldwind and Windey dominated. Unusually, vertical axis wind turbines were also in evidence. Of the foreign turbine suppliers, Vestas, GE, Suzlon, Acciona and Siemens were accompanied by Nordex, which hosted a well attended press conference as part of a determined pitch for the Chinese market (page 60), and the KR Group from Seoul.
While turbine suppliers dominated in terms of square metres, in sheer numbers it was equipment suppliers and potential equipment suppliers that ruled: 44 were of Chinese origin, or long established in China, and 27 had other than mainly Chinese pedigrees. Components on offer ranged from blades, gearboxes and generators to control software, electrical gear, lubricants and wind speed measuring equipment. Bolts and fasteners were particularly popular. Other exhibitor groups included foreign and Chinese wind power consultants, shipping companies and a variety of non government organisations and universities.