This year’s Windforce conference and accompanying trade show brought together hundreds of key industry personnel from across Europe to meet, exchange ideas and do business. World Wind Technology reports on a successful three days in Bremen, Germany.

The major event in the offshore wind calendar closed on 19 June on a very positive note. Over three days, the 14 topic sessions of Windforce 2014 brought together more than 500 national and international experts. At the trade fair running in parallel, 253 companies exhibited components, services and projects covering every aspect of the industry.

"After the successful start made by the trade fair two years ago, we’re delighted that this year we were able to welcome around 5,000 visitors from Germany and overseas, despite the difficult market environment", explains Jens Eckhoff, managing director of Offshore Wind Messe & Veranstaltungs. "The industry can now look more optimistically towards the future, as it’s already shown that it can not only plan projects, but also construct them," adds Ronny Meyer, managing director of wind energy agency WAB.

"The trade fair has developed into one of the industry’s most important meeting places", says Christian Schnibbe, head of communications at wpd. Dr Benjamin Vordemfelde, managing director of Hamburg’s SeaRenergy Offshore Holding, confirms this view: "The trade fair brings together all the industry’s key players. We’ve held very productive talks here."

The programme for Windforce2014 also came in for much praise: not only did it merge a trade fair and conference under one roof in Bremen and include events such as flights over the North Sea, a party and the Windforce dinner, it also provided a unique opportunity for networking.

"We’re able to make contacts and reach our target groups here," said Dirk Jan Hummel of the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce in Groningen. The participants of the joint stand he manned belong to Northern Netherlands Offshore Wind (NNOW), a supplier cluster engaged in the offshore wind industry.

International exhibitors and projects
In addition to the trade fair, the conference also showed its international focus. Comprehensive session blocks were devoted to international markets and projects. Here, as well as in the inaugural talks and the panel discussion on the Renewable Energies Act, calls were made for reliable framework conditions for offshore projects.

"We need a long-term, political vision and European expansion targets until 2030," says Andrew Garrad, president of the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA). "Cost reduction is feasible and we can celebrate the successes we’ve had If we have reliable framework conditions and clear guidelines for the offshore industry, the financing of offshore projects is no problem whatsoever."

The next Windforce offshore trade fair and conference takes place in Bremen 7-9 June 2016.