Less than global

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Global Windpower 2004 was a decidedly less global event than its 2002 forerunner, the first Global Windpower, held in Paris, France. Of those that registered in advance, fully 80% were from the United States. Canadian delegates, from only 100 miles north of the Chicago venue, made up just 5% of the 3600 delegates, followed by Denmark with 3.6%, the United Kingdom with 3.3% and Spain, relatively well represented on the exhibit floor, with about 1.7%.

A further 30 countries from Europe, Asia and South America were represented to some extent, along with small turnouts from Afghanistan, Australia, China, the Dominican Republic, Greece, India, Mexico, New Zealand, Nigeria, Singapore, the Philippines and the Ukraine. The Paris global conference had fewer delegates, but far more countries were represented -- 51 in total. France sent just a handful of delegates to the US.

Speakers at the Chicago event were well representative of worldwide thought. According to the American Wind Energy Association, the conference host, over 200 speakers from more than 20 countries gave their thoughts in 40 sessions on far ranging topics from wind related transmission and energy policy to small wind issues and the growth in financing available for wind projects. The technical track included output forecasting from wind plant (its use is growing, especially in the US), grid interconnection and operating impacts and future applications, such as hydrogen. Panel discussions covered a range of topics from media coverage of wind projects and local opposition, to upcoming projects in developing countries, such as Brazil. If there was a drawback to this onslaught of information, it was the difficulty of attending four and sometimes five sessions running at the same time.

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