Renexpo Interhydro - Prominent visitor interest at the hydropower trade fair
Last weekend, for the 13th time, Messezentrum Salzburg hosted the Renexpo Interhydro, the international hydropower community gathering. On the 30 and 31 March, around 1,200 trade visitors seized the opportunities provided by the central information hub for this clean energy source.
Sophisticated and forward-looking European platform
60 exhibitors representing companies in hydropower, from energy suppliers and plant constructors to businesses in water protection, revealed the broad spectrum of enterprises working with this reliable, and ever-increasingly future-relevant source of energy. The trade fair serves as an industry showcase, and is uniformly seen as an indispensable European hydropower gathering. “In the future, to achieve the energy transition hydropower will have to play an even greater role within the energy mix. In addition to emission-free power generation, hydropower also offers major advantages in terms of grid stability, security of supply and black-start capabilities. The need for change is international, so in order to make the right adjustments, Renexpo Interhydro provides a much-needed European event to facilitate intensive interaction between suppliers, customers and decision-makers”, says Managing Director DI (FH) Alexander Kribus, MBA, as he underlined the relevance of the event.
Convincing expertise event programme
This year's stage schedule guaranteed plenty of participation. Well-known names from business and politics presented various themes, and discussed the hydropower status quo, prospects and challenges ahead. There was universal agreement about the potential for improved performance and expansion of European hydropower at the opening ceremony, and also during the subsequent energy discussion featuring Dr. Jürgen Schneider (Federal Ministry for Climate Protection, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology), Florian Streibl (Bavarian Parliament) and Dr. Paul Ablinger (Small Hydropower Austria). It’s no longer an issue of pointing out problems, but of discussing solutions – and of recognising they can only succeed by combining the benefits of all renewable energy sources: hydropower, photovoltaics and wind energy. There was also agreement with regard to Austria's 2040 climate neutrality goal, to be achieved, among other things, via the use of 100% renewable electricity. The economic significance of hydropower was also emphasised, reaching beyond its meaning for plant operators, and reflecting strong relevance for the service sector. There is potential for optimisation in the approval processes and the duration of procedures, as well as in the coordination of federal and state goals.
Viktoria Auer, MSc of Global 2000, Dr. Ulrich Streibl of Oekostrom AG, Dipl.-Ing. Mag. (FH) Gerhard Christiner of the Austrian Power Grid AG, and Dipl.-Ing. Mag. Michael Strebl of Wien Energie GmbH, took their seats on the stage for the panel discussion: ‘The energy transition is visible! Creating acceptance is the challenge’. The presenter, Dipl.-Ing. Wolfgang Anzengruber, retired Chairman of the Board at Verbund AG, guided his guests through a rewarding exchange of views between Austria's leading energy companies and the NGO Global 2000. Auer believes non-governmental organisations play an important role, and are driving forces behind the energy transition, due to the information dissemination and education work they perform. Strebl sees opportunities to increase hydropower acceptance with participation models, and Christiner maintains there is potential for legislative improvements with regard to possible discrepancies between climate protection and species protection. Dr. Ulrich Streibl emphasised Austria's pioneering role in European hydropower, where 70% of electricity consumption is already covered by renewable energies. The key is now to hold onto the progress already made, while continuing the processes of optimisation.
Record attendance at Hydropower Operators’ Day
On Thursday, 30 March, an Operators’ Day was held parallel to the trade fair events, in cooperation with the Province of Salzburg and the representative association Small Hydropower Austria. The focus was on providing plant operators with targeted information on funding opportunities and legislation. The number of registrations was an all-time ten-year high of 112 participants. The Bavarian Hydropower Association (LVBW e.G.) and the Association of Bavarian Hydropower Plants (VWB) came to represent Bavaria, the neighbouring German federal state with the greatest hydropower output, and every seat for the Bavarian event was occupied, too.
European Renewable Energies Federation showcase
EREF presented EU HYPOSO project involvement opportunities for small hydropower projects in Cameroon and Uganda. Interested businesses had the opportunity to contact the respective project managers from Africa during the subsequent matchmaking session. On Friday, information was provided on the impacts of the European Green Deal and the REPowerEU hydropower initiative.
Exhibitor Ing. Clemens Kaltenböck, Project Manager at Danner Wasserkraft GmbH, was positively surprised by this year's visitor turnout: “Visitor interest increased noticeably, and we were pleased to hold numerous positive discussions that revealed high order potential.”
Klaus Kopf, Sales Manager at AUMA-Armaturenbetriebe GmbH, highlighted the readiness to invest displayed at the show: “There is tangible movement in the energy market, and what gives the Renexpo Interhydro its special character is the high quality of the trade visitors it attracts.”
The next Renexpo Interhydro is scheduled for 21 and 22 March 2024.