WINDFORCE Conference celebrates its 15th birthday - Industry demands immediate special contribution

Bremerhaven, 21st of May 2019 — Starting today, Bremerhaven will once again be the meeting point of the national and international offshore industry. For the 15th time, the industry is coming together for the WINDFORCE Conference. With the help of the Declaration of Bremen, the organizer WAB sends an urgent call for action to Berlin politicians and in particular to Federal Minister of Economics Peter Altmaier, who is attending the National Maritime Conference in Friedrichshafen. The core requirement of the declaration is that the expansion path for the offshore wind industry must be increased to 35 gigawatts (GW) by 2035. In his welcoming speech, WAB Managing Director Andreas Wellbrock called for a short-term special contribution of at least 1.5 GW.

During the opening ceremony, the Declaration of Bremen published on 16th of March was handed over to Dr Christoph Reichle, Ministerial Director at the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy. Despite the ongoing election campaign in Bremen, the German parties of SPD, CDU, Bündnis 90/DIE GRÜNEN, DIE LINKE and FDP have agreed on the Declaration. The Declaration demands for a higher expansion volume. Andreas Wellbrock added in his welcoming speech at WINDFORCE 2019: "In addition to an increase of the offshore expansion path to 35 GW by 2035, the Federal Government must now make the special contribution of at least 1.5 GW agreed in the coalition agreement available at short notice. We have free converter capacities that can be used immediately. The special contribution would be an urgently needed signal."

A unity of the associations Stiftung OFFSHORE-WINDENERGIE, BWE, AGOW, EEHH, EESH, WEN, and the WAB as well as the North German energy and economic ministers and the IG Metall Küste had already warned of the serious consequences of the expansion cover at the WindEnergy trade fair in Hamburg in September 2018. One year earlier, in September 2017, the energy, environment and economic ministers of the five coastal countries, together with the associations of the offshore wind industry and the IG Metall Küste had demanded for an increase of the existing expansion cover of 15 GW to at least 20 GW for the year 2030 in the Cuxhaven Appeal 2.0.

Today, WAB Chairwoman of the Board Irina Lucke warns: "The situation is dramatic. In the years 2020, 2021 and 2022 there will be no expansion. Numerous companies are filing for insolvency and valuable specialist personnel will move to other markets. A political signal in the form of a special contribution and the raising of the expansion targets to 35 GW is therefore overdue at the present time. This special contribution would be a clear commitment to offshore wind power."

The 15th WINDFORCE Conference opened today with around 200 guests from all over Germany and beyond. In the panel discussion, experts discussed the energy turnaround from a national and European perspective. Dr Hannah König, Head of Wind and Maritime Technology at EnBW, emphasised: "The Energy Transition requires a holistic and reliable framework instead of a collection of individual measures. Establishing a meaningful CO2 price is a simple but effective lever."

On Wednesday, a full day with twelve dedicated sessions, the event will cover all current industry topics, including innovative developments such as floating foundations, internationalisation, sector coupling and the wind energy-based production of hydrogen. Participants will also be able to see concrete applications, for example in a fuel cell car.

The WINDFORCE Conference has been one of the leading offshore wind energy events in Germany for fifteen years and attracts start-ups, companies and industrial groups to the coast every year. It is also known as the "Family Meeting of the German Offshore Industry". On the first Conference Evening, the traditional WINDFORCE Dinner will be held, which will take place this year on the ship "Fair Lady". The Conference is sponsored this year by: EWE, TenneT, NW Assekuranz, Helmut Müller, CEZ Group, Innogy, REETEC, PwC, WindMW, PNE, Lüning Paletten, EMS Maritime Offshore, Green Giraffe, Van Oord, ELA Container, wpd, WindMultiplikator, Tractebel DOC Offshore, Reederei Cassen Eils, bis and WindManShip.