What a difference five years makes. When the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) held its 2004 annual conference at Chicago's McCormick Place Convention Center, the visitor tally reached 3600 and exhibitors about 220. This year's 1280 exhibitors, spread across nearly 27,000 square metres, and 23,200 delegates, provided highly visible evidence of the exploding interest in US wind power potential. The 2009 event was a huge step up from even just a year ago in Houston, when 13,000 people attended and 776 companies had booths. Exhibitors this year came from 48 US states and there were nine country pavilions from around the world representing multiple companies. Visitors came from 70 countries. AWEA requires membership in its association to exhibit at its annual trade show, with the result that its ranks have swelled 40% since January. Over 500 of the exhibitors touting services and products in Chicago were making their first appearance at the decades old annual trade show. Over 400 of the total exhibitors were companies offering components or related to the wind farm supply chain.
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