The 28th annual conference of the British Wind Energy Association is destined to have been its last. Negotiations for the merger of the BWEA -- the oldest national wind power group -- with the more broad-based Renewable Energy Association (REA) are moving into a final phase. But not all members of the BWEA agree the merger is a good idea. Former BWEA patron Colin Moynihan, also a former energy minister, is warning against the move. Wind needs a strong voice, he said at the conference last month. "We should have a strong voice that everybody -- the press, politicians and ministers -- can see as a voice for the wind industry." Now, more than ever, with raised environmental consciousness, the industry needs its voice to be heard and the case to be made in the media, from public debates through to industry and presentations to analysts, he said.
A show of hands of delegates in the conference hall, however, revealed a clear majority in favour of the merger. The aim of joining the two associations is to present a single voice on renewables energy policy to government, though even within its own ranks the BWEA earlier this year was unable to reach a consensus on its response to the government's energy review. As a result, its submission to the review failed to make specific proposals for how best to improve the structure of the Renewables Obligation.
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