The wind industry has developed a love-hate relationship with the Hannover industry trade fair. The biggest of its kind in the world, the fair attracts around 7000 exhibiting companies visited by 250,000 people from some 65 countries. Wind companies see the advantages of displaying their wares in this global show-case -- and the size and quality of their stands reflect this. But while some have the annual event firmly in their calendars, others are dubious, seeing regional and specialised renewables or wind trade fairs as a more effective route to customers.
"Of necessity we are here, but its not really our trade fair," was the verdict of Thies Reimers of Vestas Deutschland. He preferred events specific to the industry, such as Germany's Husum wind fair. It was a view shared by several. Reimers acknowledged, however, that a presence at Hannover strengthens the international image of wind power. DeWind's boss, Hugo Schippman, agreed. "Customers expect to see us in appropriate surroundings," he said. But he was not happy that wind was tucked away from the public in the energy section. "Hall 13 is a bit off the beaten track of the fairground," he felt.
This year, "energy" in Hall 13 was a special theme at Hannover, held April 23-28. Wind and other renewable companies sharing the hall with German energy giants like RWE, E.On Energie and Ruhrgas. There was no special spotlight on renewables in trade fair literature, an omission according to some wind representatives. A two day energy summit discussed electricity market liberalisation, renewables and the transition to a hydrogen based economy.
Several wind companies came with entire nacelles. So large was the Nordex N80 2.5 MW that the whole stand of its parent, Babcock-Borsig, in Hall 11, was built around it. After going public early in April, this was Nordex's last joint appearance with its former majority stakeholder, Babcock. Next year it will probably display at Hannover in a hall alongside the other wind companies. American Enron Wind probably had the largest stand at 570 square metres, with plenty of room for the nacelle of a 900 kW turbine, a model of a landscaped offshore wind station complete with miniature electric train set, a video room, and an Enron Wind service van -- all enclosed by walls of "rock" cliffs to divorce the company from neighbouring stands. The Enron cliffs were so effective that DeWind next door found on the first day that its stand was cast in gloomy shadow and that extra spotlighting was essential.
Enercon, Germany's number one manufacturer, spread itself across 486 square metres displaying a nacelle of its workhorse turbine, the E40, as well as the main axis of an E66 1.8 MW machine standing five metres high and pointing into the distance like a massive sea-shore telescope. Enercon was the only company to use performers to attract publicity. Two human "CO2 bubbles," with legs clad in blue-green Enercon livery, floated about distributing postcards with the message "wind power protects the climate."
From Denmark, NEG Micon made a weighty impression with the nacelle of its NM72c/1500 kW machine while Vestas, in a more open stand was content to show just the hub of its V80 2 MW machine. The German Nevag group displayed a nacelle of its re-engineered Frisia 850 kW turbine.
Dutch Lagerwey aroused interest with a 1:4 scale model of its Zephyros turbine, designed for near-shore and offshore applications. Visitors learned that the curious-looking structure atop the model is a built-in hoist installation designed by Dutch company Mammoet van Seumeren for facilitating on-site assembly. A prototype of the turbine, built by a seven company consortium led by Lagerwey, is to be installed near Rotterdam this autumn.
Fuhrländer, a relative minnow in the German wind scene, displayed a nacelle outside the building, while another smaller German turbine manufacturer, Jacobs Energie, joined with developer Umweltkontor and 16 other renewable energy companies under the banner "Clean Power Generation." This is a trade fair platform set up by Flad & Flad Innovation Marketing Kommunikation of Eckental. Germanischer Lloyd, German wind energy institute DEWI and many other organisations were included under the banner, as were several component manufacturers.