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The EWEA Special Topic Conference, The Economics of Wind Energy, was held in a country hotel outside Helsinki during September 5-7. The venue was attractive and at the end of each day delegates were to be found swimming in the hotel pool, mountain biking or jogging in the woods and generally enjoying the pleasant woodland scenery.

Constructive innovationxxxxThe conference sessions followed an innovative format, intended to promote discussion by cutting verbal presentation times to the minimum. In practice, none of the speakers kept to the recommended three minutes (seven minutes was about the average), but the availability of (some) papers in printed form did encourage structured and constructive discussions. In addition, authors had been requested to prepare poster presentations and these stimulated further fruitful discussions. In practice, many authors did not provide this material, possibly because they had been given rather short notice. Overall, aided by good chairmen and a spacious and comfortable auditorium, the conference was successful -- but it could have been shortened.

Fewer papers

The number of papers finally presented in Finland was well down on the expectations of the conference programme. They were grouped under five headings: national programme and operational experience; grid issues and avoided direct costs; avoided external costs; the role of wind energy in future energy supply; and technical innovations.

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