Conference pinpoints lack of support

The direct connection between the wind industry and applied science at the grassroots level was highlighted at DEWEK '98, a German wind industry conference that attracted some 350 people to Wilhelmshaven in late October.

Delegates from the wind industry and financial world made a strong presence. "The biannual DEWEK conference is increasingly important as an interface for intensive contact between wind energy scientists and the wind industry," says Henry Seifert of the Deutsche Windenergie Institut (DEWI), the German wind energy institute, which organised the event. "The small informal stands surrounded by a border of scientific posters provided an excellent forum for discussions," Seifert says.

DEWI was credited with showing no signs of ivory tower mentality. "We were complimented on the down to earth subjects discussed at the conference, as well as the quality of the speeches," reports Seifert.

Critical of BMFT

Head of DEWI, Jens-Peter Molly, was critical of the German government's support to wind. "The federal research ministry seems to think there is nothing left to research in the field of wind energy," Molly told delegates. He also regretted the lack of government support for the vital area of certification and international standards, areas where other national governments are willing to make a financial contribution for the sake of market development.

On the conference floor, DEWI gave considerable space to Danish offshore development, hoping to speed up progress of German projects at sea that currently lag behind those in Denmark and Holland. The wind export market was also discussed at length; to give a solid factual base to the debate, speakers were invited from France, Italy, Greece, Turkey and Egypt. These are, "Countries where, in part, a wind market has developed but in which the German wind industry has so far participated very little," says Seifert.

Aside from these central themes, speakers also reported recent research results, developments and technological details. Two sessions were devoted to grid connection issues.

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