United Kingdom

United Kingdom

BWEA 21 conference framework

This article gives the technical details and framework of BWEA-21, the British Wind Energy Association's annual conference, including delegates, papers, side trips and keynote speaker.

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BWEA-21 was held at Homerton College-one of around 30 colleges that make up the historic Cambridge University. The three day event drew 306 delegates, the highest attendance since 1993. As at all British annual conferences, the opportunity it presented to conduct business outside the conference hall and to meet other industry players was as important as the proceedings themselves.

The standard of papers presented was generally agreed to be topical and of good quality. Less satisfactory was the exhibition, which was more piece-meal than in previous years, with the 20 exhibitors dispersed among four rooms.

On the third day of the conference, an optional visit was arranged to the new 1.5 MW Enercon wind turbine at the Ecotech Centre in Swaffham, Norfolk. Not only is it the largest wind turbine in Britain, but it is also the only one to incorporate a panoramic viewing platform. Visitors who climbed the 300 steps were following in the footsteps of the conference's keynote speaker, environment minister Michael Meacher. After addressing the conference's opening session, Meacher travelled directly to Swaffham to switch on the new turbine at its formal opening.

Meacher's enthusiasm for wind energy-both during his visit to Swaffham and at the conference-gained widespread favourable media coverage the length and breadth of the country. In addition, features on offshore wind appeared in the national tabloid newspaper The Mirror and some regional press to coincide with the conference.

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