From Europe to Canada? – Measuring the pulse of the wind energy industry in Husum

By Ingo Koenig

A CTT-lead mission of business people from Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge and Guelph went to the Husum Wind Energy 2010 in Husum, (Northern) Germany. Our goal was to attract European wind power companies to come to and invest in Ontario.

The Fair and the place are commonly known as the birthplace of the global wind energy industry (and I was born there). Since 20 years the Husum is hosting the “Who’s who” of the global wind power industry. This year has seen 34,000 visitors and more than 900 exhibitors. The town itself has only 20,000 inhabitants. One easily can imagine that this creates an interesting experience in accommodation, logistics and night-life for everybody during the five days.

In general the European companies (and we met around 40 in person) welcomed us positively and curiously. We talked to OEMs, inverter companies, blade manufacturers, developers, logistics companies, financiers, local business development companies and wind energy associations.

They all wanted to learn about the opportunities in Canada particularly in Ontario with its Green Energy Act introducing a reliable Feed-In-Tariff-scheme. Most executives would prefer to personally move to Canada than to the US.  Canada does have a stronger “brand” with the people.

However despite an overall optimistic outlook we faced some reluctance to “make a move”. The main reasons given were:

1. The uncertain political situation in the US towards renewable energies

2. Ambiguity on how Ontario’s Green Energy Act would evolve in the future

3. The perception that the market had already been divided between some bigger players.

Ticker-news from the fair: … A Cambridge logistics company managed to deliver the only undamaged wind turbines to a site in Nova Scotia… Numerous OEMs are looking into building facilities in Ontario, but haven’t made up their mind yet… First and second tier suppliers are also prepared to make a move as soon as the OEMs decide… Gearless drive OEMs are disappointed about the Domestic content rules as they only assume gear drives…Last week one of the wind and solar-PV developers we met decided to come to Ontario in cooperation with an equipment manufacturer…

Ingo studied business administration and economics at Kiel University where he received a PhD in economic policy and also earned an MBA from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, USA. Visit www.koenigconsultants.ca


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