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GROWING GREEN SUPPORT, Renew '96

Well over 700 people flocked to Renew '96 from March 4-6 in Boston where a trio of concurrent events included the 12th annual Quality Building Conference and the Solar Electric Buildings Conference, as well as a trade show. Wind opics included performance characteristics of grid-connected systems, renewables and utility structuring, renewables economics, green pricing, climate change and the insurance industry. Results of a five-year, 15-country study on photovoltaics integration in buildings were also released.

Well over 700 people, including a significant number of non business people and renewables enthusiasts, flocked to Renew '96 and two other US building energy conferences in Boston last month. The attendance at the three-day event, from March 4-6, appears to indicate more interest -- possibly in small wind systems or hybrids -- from those involved in energy efficiency and 'green' buildings.

Wind power was only a relatively small part of the overall building energy trio of concurrent events, which also included the 12th annual Quality Building Conference and the Solar Electric Buildings Conference, as well as a trade show. But wind participants might have numbered as many as 80, says conference organiser Paul Lipke of the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association. The high attendance, from a broad range of backgrounds, was seen as a hopeful sign. "There are architects out there who are thinking about hybrid [wind] systems," says Jamie Chapman of OEM Development who presented a paper at the event. He is president of the board of directors at the American Wind Energy Association.

Chapman's talk at Renew '96, on performance characteristics of grid-connected systems, prompted a number of questions, he says. Other topics of interest to a wind audience included renewables and utility structuring, renewables economics, green pricing and climate change and the insurance industry.

The Renew conferences, to promote a renewable energy future, are held every two years. Renew '94, which was not in conjunction with the two other conferences, had attracted some 400 to Stamford, Connecticut. The Renew '96 high attendance was also in part because results of a five-year, 15-country study on photovoltaics integration in buildings were released there. Major sponsors of the events were the US Department of Energy's National Energy Renewable Laboratory, Niagara Mohawk Power and Northeast Utilities.

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