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Germany: A spirit of optimism at HUSUM Wind

Until tomorrow afternoon, the wind industry will be meeting in Germany for the HUSUM Wind trade fair. The German Federal Minister of Economics, Robert Habeck, did not miss the opportunity to return to his personal origins and opened the trade fair on Tuesday - as he did more than ten years ago when he was still the Minister of the Environment of Schleswig-Holstein where Husum is located. He met an industry in a spirit of optimism.

The wind industry is currently meeting in Husum (Image: Windfair)The wind industry is currently meeting in Husum (Image: Windfair)

Of course, a visit is easier when you know that the public will welcome you with open arms. And so a visit to HUSUM Wind has probably been on the agenda of Germany's Federal Economics Minister Robert Habeck for some time. Because while the sympathy ratings of the German so called 'traffic light coalition' among the population have been in a downward spiral for months, the mood in Husum is quite different.

Anyone who wants to hear about the successes of the current federal government need only look around at the trade show. After all, the various political measures to get a grip on the energy transition in the face of global climate change and, more specifically, the energy crisis, are ensuring full order books for companies in the renewable energy sector.

Of course, not all that glitters is gold here either, but the overall feeling is that something is finally happening after years of standstill. Reduced bureaucracy and accelerated permitting processes are ensuring that the pace of expansion is finally picking up. In one specific case, for example, an internationally active project developer spoke of two years that a repowering project had moved up in the schedule as a result.

And this is sorely needed, because despite all the euphoria, Germany is still lagging far behind in its expansion plans. At the same time, representatives of the industry are warning that it will be some time before all companies benefit from the current upswing. Whether wind turbine or component manufacturers: Although the order books are full for many, the next one to two years will still be challenging. The tenor is therefore that more support is expected from politics. Against the backdrop of the squabbles in the federal coalition, however, Olaf Lies, Minister of Economics in this year's trade fair partner state of Lower Saxony, also called for better cooperation between the ministries: It's not either about energy/economy or the environment, it "goes both ways," he emphasized on an expert panel. And he should know, since he has also been the Minister of the Environment in his state in the past.

Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck did not miss the opportunity to open HUSUM Wind himself on Tuesday (Image: Windfair)

Numerous challenges therefore continue to exist, as is clear at HUSUM Wind: for example, digitalization is still not far enough advanced and the shortage of skilled workers is also affecting companies. Almost no one among the exhibitors therefore does without the sign that personnel is being sought. This is a topic that will remain 'hot' in the coming years, especially since the energy transition is in the midst of an upswing in many places abroad and the scramble for skilled workers will not diminish.

Compared to recent years, however, the Federal Minister of Economics sees Germany in a better position. He drew a sporting comparison: If you go into a boxing match with your hands tied, you shouldn't be surprised if you "get punched in the mouth," as has happened in recent years, Habeck said. He also promised to continue working to loosen these shackles, including within the federal coalition. So there is still much work to do.

Katrin Radtke
HUSUM Wind, trade fair, Germany, wind industry, politics, energy transition, Minister, government, permitting, climate change

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