Wind energy was given a good hearing in Geneva during the United Nations Third Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Climate Change which ran from July 8-19, reports Christophe Bourillon, European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) executive director. Not only was EWEA one of just two non government organisations (NGOs) represented among the 11 booths on the exhibition floor, the EWEA stand also had pride of place in the entrance to the plenary hall. "In the short time we had available to organise our presence there it went pretty well," says Bourillon. "Our Bonus wind turbine model attracted a lot of attention and most television interviews with top officials were conducted with our stand as the back-drop. Even NBC from the US featured the Bonus turbine." EWEA's aim was to inform government delegates from the 189 UN member countries of the role wind can play to meet national commitments to climate protection. Delegates were meeting to follow-up the work started in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 and Berlin in 1994. "The traditional sources of energy were present in Rio and Berlin. The UN negotiators are willing to listen to a different kind of message," Bourillon told EWEA members before the event. In a statement distributed at the conference, he added: "A number of obstacles and barriers are slowing the expansion of wind energy worldwide, but the negotiations currently underway in Geneva provide the ideal opportunity for reassessing the contribution that wind energy can make to the world's future energy needs." EWEA was also granted a slot at the conference for a two hour presentation, the only one allowed by an NGO, says Bourillon. EWEA president Ian Mays gave an overview of the status of wind energy. He was joined on the platform by Søren Krohn, director of the Danish wind turbine manufacturers' association and UK consultant Andrew Garrad. Krohn spoke of Denmark's wind energy success story, while Garrad briefed participants on how to get a wind energy project on the road. "There is so little information on renewables and very little on wind. Those guys [UN delegate] are just dying for concrete information," says Bourillon.
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