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A New Event for the Wind Energy Business

ImageBetween 26 and 28 October, the first Copenhagen Offshore Wind (COW) conference and exhibition took place. Around 900 people participated in the conference and there were more than 100 companies exhibiting. With the importance of offshore wind energy, a special event like this is a good idea, although the annual schedule of conferences and exhibitions is quite busy already.

By Floris
Siteur, Publisher, Windtech International .

{access view=!registered}Only logged in users can view the full text of the article.{/access}{access view=registered}The theme of the opening session, ‘The challenge is to make offshore wind happen’, was well chosen. Although there are several offshore wind farms in operation, the industry is not ready to implement the current technology on a large scale. Much research is necessary before offshore wind energy becomes a mature technology and can make substantial contributions to electricity production. Surprisingly, the focus is mostly on the generators themselves and less on surrounding issues. For instance, why is there not more focus on solutions to storing the generated energy? As it seems now, some offshore turbines will be shut off at night because the generated energy cannot be fed into the grid based on the demand for energy at night. The potential for offshore wind energy is enormous but will only be effective if we are able to use all the generated energy.

Conference
The conference programme was divided over the three days with different themes such as policy and planning, synergy and risk, business, and technology. It was clear that the sessions were well attended, because during the sessions there was less traffic at the exhibition floor. However, this gave the exhibitors the opportunity to get in touch with each other, which is also good for business since many companies are each other’s customers. Many people attended the event because of the high quality of the conference programme, and therefore the event was less commercial than others.

Exhibition
Alongside the conference programme, an exhibition was on site as well. Of the large manufacturers only Vestas and Siemens were present. I wondered why other manufacturers were not at the show since some of them also have specially designed offshore turbines. Maybe the event was too close after Husum, which is considered the most important booking on the event calendar by many people. Therefore it is good that COW 2007 will be organised in December instead of October.

ImageSince the focus was on offshore wind, there were companies present you wouldn’t find at other general events. Thustmaster of Texas was showing its portable dynamic positioning system (PDPS). The system consists of modular thrusters, power units and dynamic positioning (DP) control systems, which are all interfaced. The thrusters can be mounted on a platform or vessel and the freely azimuthing thrusters can position and hold a vessel to within a metre or two of its target. This can be a useful solution for the installation of offshore wind farms.

As we described in our article about offshore landing systems in our July/August issue this is still an area that encourages companies to find innovative solutions. In Copenhagen there were several companies presenting their solutions. Mistvind showed the SASH Docking Systems and PTS the Personal Transfer System. I am sure many other solutions will follow because every situation requires a different solution.

Looking at the Future
When an event is organised for the first time it is difficult to tell if it will become successful. COW 2005 was well organised and could certainly become an important event for the future. The layout of the exhibition hall was professional (although attracting traffic to Hall E could have been better), and the conference was smoothly organised. The focus on offshore only might be the distinctive factor which could give COW a prominent position on the events calendar. I look forward to the next COW, which will happen between 5 and 7 December 2007.{/access}
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