Offshore WINDPOWER 2011: Manufacturers say stable federal policy needed to establish new market sector
Offshore OEMs: the supply chain will come when a market is established
BALTIMORE, Md., October 13, 2011–With the much-anticipated Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM)/Major Turbine Manufacturers panel punctuating Day 2, the Offshore WINDPOWER Conference & Exhibition continued to inform attendees, make news and serve as an industry town square and marketplace.
When heavy hitters comprising five of the top offshore OEMs come together for a chat, the wind power world listens. Answering questions from moderator Ed Weston of the Great Lakes Wind Network were Steve Cuevas of AREVA Renewables, Frederic Hendrick ofAlstom, Vestas's Scott Keating, Siemens Wind Energy's Thomas Mousten and Javier Perera of Gamesa.
One of the hot topics on Wednesday's panel was how long it would take for an offshore wind power supply chain, and the accompanying jobs, to get established. The consensus: establishing a supply chain won't necessarily take too long, but it won't begin to grow roots until offshore projects start going in. "When these actually start to get constructed—that's when this supply chain will start to move," said Keating, echoing the sentiments of several others. Or, as Cuevas said, "I don't think we believe in the Field of Dreams philosophy of if you build it, they will come." Echoing the sentiments often heard among industry members talking about land-based wind power, panelists said that there must be a market for the product in order for economic activity to start moving. That, they say, requires a commitment at the federal level taking the form of stable policy.
Panelists also drilled down into technical aspects of the business. Turbines will continue to get bigger, they generally said, particularly because of the expense that goes with deploying each individual turbine.
With the 2011 turbine manufacturers panel now history, Offshore WINDPOWER attendees, which had totaled over 1,400 as of the end of yesterday, turn their attention today to the other side of the supplier-customer equation. In the event's closing general session (3 p.m., Ballroom 2), the companies that hopefully will be buying offshore wind turbines very soon, the project developers, will provide their perspective on the industry.
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Today, thoughts turn to Offshore WINDPOWER 2012
Attendees have been reminded to save a date: The Offshore WINDPOWER Conference & Exhibition moves next to Virginia Beach, Va., Oct. 9-11, 2012. With 2011 being a highly active year, the industry will see what benchmarks will have been achieved in less than a year's time.
Press conference alert: Plans for Virginia test facility announced
Additional news coming from the exhibit floor here at Offshore WINDPOWER: The commonwealth of Virginia, Northampton County, Va., and a consortium of companies are collaborating on what they say would be the first facility for testing and certification of large offshore and land-based wind turbines. The "Poseidon Atlantic" project is a private-sector initiative developed by Real NewEnergy, Fugro and Ecofys with the encouragement and support of the commonwealth, the Virginia Port Authority, and the Netherlands' government. A press conference will be held at the Fugro booth, #537, at 11 a.m. ET today, Thursday.
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