The main gripe overheard from delegates on the first day was about the missing "big names" from the opening session. European energy commissioner Christos Papoutsis, the Danish and Belgian ministers for energy and environment, the French Secretary of State for Energy -- none of them turned up as scheduled. The other few negative comments seemed to reflect the advanced state of the industry. Several delegates complained about the poor quality of most of the presentations -- the abundant use of "old fashioned" overheads instead of modern computerised presentations, and the use of the "same old slides that we saw in Dublin" at the last EWEA conference in 1997. Some of the most popular technical sessions were also scheduled in the small auditorium, leaving many people standing outside the doors complaining. Other critiques centred around the lack of concrete discussion on environmental and local planning issues. "This is a major topic -- this NIMBY syndrome," said Ruud van Rijn of the Netherlands Agency for Energy and the Environment, NOVEM. "In Holland four out of five local wind initiatives are turned down. We need a strategy."
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