Good turnout at Hanover fair -- Little signs of depression

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Sandwiched between the European wind industry's main event of the year in March and the huge American Windpower 2009 exhibition in May, the first specialist wind show hosted by the giant Hanover industry trade fair in Germany could have fallen victim to bad timing. But the show, held April 20-24, attracted 180 exhibitors, about 74 of them from overseas. It was one of four specialist segments at the world renown trade fair.

The wind show exhibitors included all the major turbine manufacturers apart from Spain's Gamesa. Around 20 further companies with wind-related activities were scattered in other areas of the fair, while some major engineering company exhibitors at Hanover Messe 2009 also had a separate presence at the wind show. With visitor numbers at the entire trade fair reaching 210,000, up from 193,000 in 2008, signs of a global depression were not much in evidence.

"We need a big annual wind show in Germany and this is the first to happen in Hanover," says Felix Losada of domestic turbine manufacturer Nordex. Previously, wind was just part of the specialist energy theme held every other year at the fair and the wind group tended to be bypassed, he feels. This year, visitors at the wind show meant business. An added bonus is having existing and potential component suppliers all in the same place, says Losada. Deb Paternak of Fuhrländer North America agrees, noting the "great potential here for cross-over with sectors such as cable suppliers."

Prominent political figures visiting the fair helped put the media spotlight on wind. "We need an ecological restructuring of the world economy that saves raw materials and energy and speeds progress of renewable energies," said German President Horst Kohler. German Chancellor Angela Merkel toured the fair with SE Han Seung-soo, prime minister of this year's partner country, South Korea, and made a point of visiting the wind show. So did economy minister Freiherr Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, who made a stop at the stand of Germany's dominant wind turbine supplier, Enercon, the biggest at the wind show.

Enercon was the only company to display a complete wind turbine nacelle, choosing to put its 2 MW machine on show. Few other large components were on display, but those that were included gearbox supplier Winergy's 2.5 MW double planetary helical gear unit, Eickhoff's gearbox for the Repower 3 MW turbine and Moventas' gear unit for a 2.165 MW turbine. Repower's exhibit focused on its offshore 6.15 MW turbine, currently the world's most powerful.

The energy theme at Hanover Messe 2009 featured four specialist shows -- wind, energy, power plant technology, and pipeline technology. "Our exhibitors gave proof positive that the drive to innovate is as powerful as ever," says Wolfram von Fritsch from the organiser, Deutsche Messe. "This show was about finding the most promising ways forward." The Hanover wind show is a co-operative venture by Deutsche Messe and Husum Windmesse and will alternate every other year with the traditional German wind industry fair, Husum WindEnergy.

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