Major trade shows such as the Mobile World Congress in February 2020 and Facebook F8 in May are postponed or canceled to reduce chances for infection via large crowd gatherings, as the COVID-19 outbreak continues its worldwide rampage. Energy industry exhibitions are no exception.
Trade fair company Messe Düsseldorf announced that it is “following the recommendation of the crisis management team of the German government” and postponing the Düsseldorf-based Energy Storage Europe, which was originally scheduled for March 10 to 12.
“This decision was not an easy one, for all concerned,” said Thomas Geisel, Düsseldorf mayor and Messe Düsseldorf’s chairman of the supervisory board. “But the postponements at the present time are necessary for Messe Düsseldorf and its customers in view of the increasingly dynamic developments.” Energy Storage Europe organizers will announce a new date for the event within the coming weeks.
CERAWeek 2020, this year’s iteration of IHS Markit’s annual energy conference, has been canceled as well, with the next event tentatively scheduled for 2021. The conference was originally to take place from March 9 to 13 in Houston. According to IHS Markit’s announcement, “there is growing concern about large conferences with people coming from different parts of the world.”
“Delegates from over 80 countries were expected to participate in CERAWeek 2020,” said IHS Markit. “We have spent the last several weeks focused on this question, established a medical partnership with Houston Methodist Hospital, have been in continuing dialogue with experts on infectious disease, and established an extensive protocol. But the spread of COVID-19 is moving quickly around the world.”
At the same time, energy industry trade shows in South Korea, whose number of confirmed cases ranks second only to China, are hampered due to the outbreak as well. The Green Energy Expo, based in Daegu, South Korea, has been postponed from its original dates of April 1-3 to July 15-17. The event is the largest energy industry exhibit in South Korea, which is in the midst of a renewable energy boom. The Green Energy Expo has seen yearly expansions since its inception.
With seven confirmed cases, Greece is also treating the outbreak seriously. Case in point, Athens-based exhibition Verde.tec postponed its show dates from March 29-31 to May 29-31 after careful consideration.
On the other hand, several trade show organizers decided to go ahead despite the outbreak. For instance, Wind Energy Asia 2020, the only one of its kind in Taiwan and the second largest in Asia, is to take place on schedule from March 3 to 5 in Kaohsiung. Representatives from seven countries, including Denmark, the Netherlands, and Britain, among others, will operate expanded national booths in the event. Additionally, during the event, six offshore wind farm engineering vessels will be on display at the Port of Kaohsiung. The organizers have called for attendees to wear surgical masks, with mandatory body temperature checks and disinfectant sprays placed at event entrances and exits.
The World Smart Energy Week similarly took place on schedule from February 26 to 28 in Tokyo. However, the number of participating vendors and visitors this year pales in comparison to past figures. Notable companies that opted to pass on the exhibit include Panasonic, Sharp, TOENEC, Suntech, Yaskawa, and Mitsubishi Kakoki. Many seminars were either canceled or remotely conducted via teleconferencing, as was the case for JA Solar.
Given that the outbreak’s current prognosis is rather gloomy, it remains difficult to predict future developments. In this light, prospective exhibition attendees are advised to pay close attention to the latest updates and announcements from public health institutes and trade show organizers.