More than 8,000 industry insiders and 300 exhibitors from 50 countries gathered at the Bilbao Conference and Exhibition in Bilbao to expand their knowledge base, make the contacts they need, and to solidify a vision for the future of this rapidly-expanding sector. WindEurope Conference & Exhibition, the most important event in Europe for the wind industry, took place from 2-4 April 2019 in Bilbao, Spain.
The Conference agenda included 30 conference sessions and 155 speakers including 5 Government Ministers from Spain, Portugal, Poland, Norway and Croatia, leading CEOs and experts from the worlds of technology, policy and finance.
His Majesty King Felipe VI of Spain made an official visit to the 2019 WindEurope in Bilbao and delivered the keynote speech at the official inauguration.
The King’s speech focused on the economic benefits that come with addressing the challenge of climate change, which he described as “very alarming”.
The King identified wind energy as a key part of the solution: “All of you here today represent part of the best response we can offer in the face of these existential challenges.” He described the energy transition as “a critical vector of change; one that not only allows access to energy at affordable prices, but that also brings with it many opportunities in business, technology, and employment.”
The King emphasised the wind sector’s industrial footprint and the importance of R&D: “[Wind] is indisputably one of the key sources of energy, and it is obvious that wind power is already transforming Spain, and Europe. That Spain exports wind technology is a well-known fact, a sector with a significant value chain, in which research and development have placed us third among European nations in terms of the number of wind patents.”
Described by many as the “next frontier” in wind energy, grid integration will form an integral part of the energy transition, and was a major point of focus of the WindEurope 2019 Conference & Exhibition. In terms of grid integration, Europe’s agreed renewables target of 32% by 2030 raises significant challenges. Delivering a clean economy for all Europeans means being bold in ambition but also being efficient in new practises.
Possible solutions can be found in technology, regulation, and better cooperation. Technologies like dynamic line rating and digitalisation can help to make better use of existing infrastructure. The sharing of more operational data requires upgrades to network infrastructure. This necessitates the standardisation of communication protocols. Delegates pointed to Spain and Ireland as examples whereby control rooms specific to renewable generation have been developed.
Regulatory frameworks should also evolve to facilitate their deployment. There needs to be more cooperation between distribution and transmission system operators. Co-planning of generation and grid expansion will be essential to avoid grid bottlenecks and delays in grid connections.
Discussion also focused on ancillary services. Implementing market mechanisms for procuring services is essential if we want wind farms to further contribute to grid stability. In most cases, the technical capabilities are already there. But with a higher penetration rate, a new generation of services needs to be developed to cope with new system needs e.g. fast frequency response, synthetic inertia.
The Basque Country is a shining example of the economic strength and potential of the wind industry, a sector which represents 330,000 jobs across Europe. It illustrates that even a region that is not the best natural wind resource itself is benefitting hugely from the growth of the sector by producing and exporting the relevant equipment and technology to the rest of Spain and Europe.
Spanish Wind Energy Association (AEE) Chairman Juan Diego Díaz said: “After a few years at a standstill, Spanish wind power is now in full growth and 2019 will mark a key year in the installation of new megawatts, with more than new 3,500 expected. Spain is, therefore, the country of Southern Europe that is showing greater commitment and is strongly betting on the industry”.
Arantza Tapia, Minister for Economic Development and Infrastructure of the Basque Government, President of Bilbao Exhibition Centre and the Basque Energy Board, EVE said: “Global business figures of Basque companies in the field clearly show the competitiveness and level of development achieved so far both industrially and technologically. There are 105 wind energy companies, creating over 15,000 jobs (976 of them related to R&D) and with a global turnover of €7.32bn.
By tradition, the poster award ceremony was held on the final day of the conference. Following a review of all 300 posters by a committee presided by Stephan Barth, Managing Director of ForWind, on behalf of the European Academy of Wind Energy, a poster prepared by Maryna Hritsyshyna, member of the Board of Directors of UWEA, Sayenko Kharenko law firm, jointly with Andriy Kinechenkov, Chairman of the UWEA Board and Galyna Shmidt, UWEA Board Member, was selected for a poster award in the category “Finance”. Maryna Hritsyshyna, was awarded the prize “The best poster report of the Conference WindEurope 2019”.
“Spain where the development of renewable energy could be described as “sinusoidal sequence” is a vivid example for Ukraine. After the cancellation of the “green” tariff for solar energy in a number of regions, today we are witnessing a boom in the RE industry, and first of all, in wind energy technologies, which growth is combined with the measures necessary for ensuring the steady operation of the energy system”, said Andriy Konechenkov, Head of the UWEA Board, Vice-President of WWEA.
The poster award ceremony traditionally was held on the final day of the conference. Following a review of all 300 posters by the Conference Scientific Committee, a poster “Construction of Onshore Wind Farms in Ukraine in the Period of the Replacement of the Feed-in Tariff by Auctions” prepared by Maryna Hritsyshyna, member of the Board of Directors of UWEA, Sayenko Kharenko law firm, jointly with Andriy Kinechenkov, Chairman of the UWEA Board and Galyna Shmidt, UWEA Board Member, was selected for a poster award in the category “Finance”. Maryna Hritsyshyna, was awarded the prize “The Best Poster of the Conference WindEurope 2019”.