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European Wind Energy Conference boasts highest number ever

Some 1650 delegates flocked to the EWEC 2003 conference from 56 countries, while 1100 people signed up to attend just the exhibition -- the highest number of visitors at a European wind event ever. After a lacklustre and sparsely attended opening with very few highlights, the event got into its stride from day two with a higher attendance with more concentration on the issues that really matter to the industry -- grids, markets, finance, technical developments and policy. Indeed, the conference program offered something for everybody, with up to five business and technical sessions running concurrently. Several of the sessions were full to the brim, particularly on policy mechanisms, grid integration and the vision session by the industry's top bosses. The conference boasted over 200 speakers. The quality of presentations was, as ever, variable, although some veterans noted an overall improvement over previous European wind events. Frustratingly, the opportunity for questions was too often dropped when speakers (particularly Spanish speakers) droned on past their time, causing sessions to run over. The exhibition was bigger and more professional than past EWEA conferences, but still no match for the regular and huge wind industry trade fairs held in Germany and Spain. Around 140 companies took stands in the exhibition hall, where business was brisk over the first few days, but by day four fatigue had set in, with several exhibitors complaining the event was at least one day too long.

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