Rob and I attended the Husum Wind Energy Conference on September 18th. The largest wind industry trade show in the world is held every second year in Northern Germany in a small town called… you guessed it, Husum. In a lot of ways we found it similar to the giant Oil and Gas show in Calgary.
All of the big names in wind were there: Vestas, GE, Siemens, as well as small wind turbine companies and many, many support industries like bearing manufacturers, steel makers and forgeries, etc. It was neat to be able to see so many replica models and also large equipment on display.
The day we arrived, we were told by a colleague that there was a forum going on that day about the US and Canadian emerging wind markets. We found our way to the forum, walked in, sat down and listened for several hours to some great presentations. A representative from The Canadian Wind Energy Association gave a very interesting presentation about the potential for growth in the wind sector in Canada and she also anounced that the current cap on wind power in Alberta was about to be lifted. Sure enough, in todays newspaper, the Alberta Energy Minister anounced that the 900-megawatt threshold was removed. Good news for the wind industry. See the article.
Anyhow, after the presentations, food and beer appeared and the participants started to mingle- with us mingling and munching along. Met some very interesting people. Volker Thompson recently retired as the President of St. Lawrence Community College in Kingston Ontario. He gave a presentation on the need for Alternative and Renewable Energy education in Canada and worldwide. Volker has been a huge supporter of renewable energy in Canda and can be largely accredited for the fact that St. Lawrence College is one of the only places in Canada that has a Center for Alternative and Renewable Energy studies. Also of interest is that Volker and his wife are starting to build their dream home- a fully off-grid, self sufficient home providing all of its own heating, power, waste water treatment and food production. We spoke to them at length as Rob and I are interested in one day doing something very similar.
Rob also spoke to some people from Lethbridge college who have recently started up a new Wind Turbine program to train windsmiths in our home province. They definetly forsee a huge demand for qualified wind maintenance personel in Canada. We found a great news article in the Edmonton Sun about this program.
And lastly I met a documentary maker, who is beginning research on a new documentary about Renewable Energy. I admitted to him that I was a closet video editor, and was hoping to get more into documentary making- he suggested that we keep in touch with the possibility of doing a little bit of collaboration. Cool!
And so, in the end we were so thrilled about being so far away from home, yet learning, meeting, networking and hob-nobbing with important wind energy gurus, industry reps, and prominent people all from Canada! To top it off, we then learnt that we had actually ‘accidentally’ snuck into a forum that you had to pay extra for- 500 euros extra.