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Published: 10 November 2005 10 November 2005
A Journey to the Mecca of the Wind Energy Business

ImageThis September the exhibition of exhibitions of wind energy took place. For everyone involved with wind energy a visit was inevitable; weeks before the opening people would call you up and ask which day you would be at Husum so that a meeting could be arranged.

By René Lok, Contributing Editor, Windtech International
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{access view=!registered}Only logged in users can view the full text of the article.{/access}{access view=registered}It seemed that everybody I spoke to in the period before the meeting was attending HUSUMwind; companies even gave their employees a day off to visit the exhibition. So, in the afternoon of the 21st September, we set off to Husum.

We found out that it is wise to book a hotel room in advance, as most of the hotels we contacted during our trip were fully booked. However, fortunately our luck didn’t run out and we found some friendly people with an empty holiday home. After a night’s rest we were up early to make it to the exhibition on time.

ImageWe were surprised that the exhibition had not grown much since the last HUSUMwind, but this might be a result of the offshore wind exhibition that was held only weeks later in Copenhagen. Maybe because of this offshore event exhibitors had to make a choice of which exhibition they would attend. Personally, I think that it was a missed opportunity not to combine both exhibitions to let a greater number of people have the opportunity to learn more about offshore wind.

Globalisation
But back to the exhibition … The progress of the non-European companies was also noticeable in Husum. As a result of globalisation of the market and the shifting of production from Western Europe to Asia and South and Middle America, more companies are coming into contact with wind energy. This development causes more companies to be involved in wind energy as suppliers and sub-suppliers.

ImageHistory has taught us that this globalisation of production will lead to greater future competition and will probably have a positive influence on the price per kilowatt ratio. Nabtesco, for instance, is a Japanese manufacturer of high precision hydraulic motors and actuators for aviation and other demanding purposes. Although Nabtesco is not known in Europe for its wind turbine parts, it produces an impressive hydraulic motor for slewing and pitching purposes, which is already being delivered to Mitsubishi.

Walking further through the exhibition we found that PTS was presenting an addition to our recent comparison of offshore access systems (July/August 2005 issue). PTS has designed a remotely operated crane arm that can be used to lift people and equipment from the deck of ships onto the offshore wind turbine. We are looking forward to the invitation for the presentation of the first full-scale test model.

Extending Lifetimes
The market for used wind turbines is still growing. Not long ago it was the custom that wind turbines at the end of their economic lifetime were demolished.  Nowadays, these turbines are dismantled, revised if necessary, and start a second life through specialised companies like Windbrokers, who were present at the exhibition.

Opponents of wind energy still proclaim that wind turbines cost too much energy to build in relation to the energy they produce during their working lifetime. However, by extending the lifespan of a wind turbine, progress is made in the cost and environmental balance.

From the Exhibition Floor
Voith showed us their liquid solution for saving the drive train. By mounting a torque converter between the gearbox and the generator peak loads can be absorbed by the torque converter, saving the teeth and bearings of the gearbox. There is a small sacrifice in the performance of the wind turbine, as a torque converter will always have some slip, but who doesn’t want to gain greater reliability…

There were several providers of combinations of wind turbines, solar panels and diesel-driven generators at the Husum fair, presenting their energy solutions for areas without grid power. We can safely say that nowadays it is possible to have renewable energy anytime, anywhere.

After viewing the exhibits we went home with sore feet but satisfied. We had met a lot of acquaintances and we spoke with many new people who sometimes had travelled halfway round the globe to attend this exhibition. Walking through the Husum exhibition you can truly feel that the wind energy market has become a global market.

Satisfying Journey

ImageIf you did not have the chance to visit the event this year, I encourage you to make the journey to Husum in 2007. I can assure you the trip is worthwhile. On the way back to the Netherlands we drove into a beautiful sunset, which we would like to share with you …{/access}
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