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Successful Gathering of Professionals in Greece

ImageFrom 27 February to 2 March EWEC 2006 took place in Athens, Greece. This year it was supposed to be in a region that was less developed with regard to wind energy, but you would not have guessed this by looking at the number of participants. In total, 2,650 participants from 40 countries took part in the event. There were over 500 oral and poster presenters in 40 separate business, technical and workshop sessions.

By Floris
Siteur, Publisher
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{access view=!registered}Only logged in users can view the full text of the article.{/access}{access view=registered}Compared to the 4,000 attendees of the last EWEC in London the number of visitors in Athens was impressive. I would also say that the balance between the more commercially oriented exhibition and the content oriented conference was good. At many other events visitors come either just for the conference or just for the exhibition. That there was a good balance was indicated by the traffic in the aisles during the presentations. The exhibition hall did not die during the conference sessions.

Exhibition
Around 150 companies presented their products and services. A minor downside was that the exhibition was spread over three different floors with some slightly hidden corridors. It is always Imagebetter to have all exhibitors on one floor. To attract visitors to all floors, during breaks the organisation served coffee and the lunch in halls. Of course, the major manufactures were all present. They were all together in the basement of the venue. Most supplier and services companies were located at ground and lower ground level.

Social Events
An event like this also needs social gatherings, so that you can talk with professionals, friends and colleagues in a more relaxed way. On Sunday, a reception was organised at the Galaxy Room, Imageoverlooking the Acropolis from the top of the Hilton Hotel, which was attended by around 200 people. On Tuesday, the exhibitor’s reception took place in the exhibition area. Cocktails and snacks were served and Greek music, dancing and entertainment was provided. But it was not just the EWEA who organised social events. Some companies and organisations gave their own small-scale receptions. Hansen Transmission from Belgium served several kinds of Belgian beer and at the booth of the Dutch Province North Holland they served Dutch beer and ‘Corenwijn’ and several kinds of Dutch cheese. The Province of North Holland had chosen to participate at the event to present itself as an attractive area for wind energy related industry with the slogan ‘Home of a sustainable energy cluster’. A recent example of a joint effort between the province and industry is provided by Harakosan, the Japanese company which took over the technology for the permanent magnet direct drive wind turbines from bankrupted Zephyros last year. They will build their manufacturing facility in Den Helder, North Holland. At their temporary facility, also in Den Helder, they are currently producing turbines for a planned wind farm project in Taiwan.

CEO Vision
The EWEA invited the CEO’s of most major turbine manufactures to give their perspective on the industry. It was a bit disappointing that the announced CEOs from Enercon and GE Energy were not at the meeting as both companies play a big role at the market and Enercon is seen by experts as Imageone of the most innovative manufacturers in the industry. But of course the other CEOs had interesting things to say, besides the more common remarks about the growing importance of wind energy in global electricity generation. The answer from Esteban Morrás Andrés (CEO, Acciona, Spain) to the question of how many turbine manufacturers there will be worldwide in 10 years’ time was interesting. In his view, the manufacturers might become part of the major oil and gas companies, as the latter see wind energy (and other renewable energy sources) as a new way to generate electricity as well as looking good in their portfolio. To be honest, this is not such a strange idea. As some of you know, there are rumours that Shell is linked to a possible take over of Vestas. But as long as Vestas or Shell do not publish an official stock announcement about it, it is just a rumour.

Next Conference
From now on EWEC will be organised annually. Next year the event will take place in Milan, Italy, from 7 to 10 May. More information can be found at http://www.ewea.org{/access}
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