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July 2004 - Issue 2

Conference reports

Almeria gives RES a media boost

Some 40 journalists were given an intensive briefing on renewable energy systems utilising solar, wave and geothermal sources at the Almeria Solar platform in Spain in March. Three FP5 projects were featured: SolAir (see also the article on the INDITEP project in this issue), Wave Dragon (see article in this issue) and Hot Dry Rock (see RENEWS issue 1).

Presentations on the three projects were given, lively question and answer sessions were held and, despite the persistent rain, it was clear that the assembled media appreciated the visit to the solar energy test facilities. The event was a great success with more than 100 media reports generated in the written media, TV and radio, with coverage from all parts of the EU and beyond.

DG Research stand at the Rome conference
DG Research stand at the Rome conference

Each of the three projects had a video prepared for the event, which was highly appreciated by the broadcast media. Copies of the tapes were distributed to representatives of TV and radio stations during the actual event and an additional 18 requests for the broadcastquality tapes were received after the event.

Detailed headline and cover-page science articles have appeared in the most important European quality and specialised newspapers and magazines, including Le Soir, Le Monde, Die Welt, The Observer, El Mundo and New Scientist. The fact that Europe needs to increase its use of renewables to meet the objectives of 2010 was often the catch line. Many articles implied that Europe was leading the way in the development and implementation of renewable energy.

Almeria was a most successful thematic media event. Renewable energy is a ‘hot’ topic for the media and new developments are seen as ‘good copy’. Feedback from the participants highlighted that the material offered to them was of high quality. The preparation and accessible language used by the presenters were also praised.

The interactive nature of the programme was certainly a factor in generating media interest and this was greatly facilitated by the flexibility and hospitality shown by the local organisers at the Plataforma Solar.

Rome good for biomass

The 2nd World Conference and Technological Exhibition on Biomass for Energy, Industry and Climate Protection gave a clear message: count on biomass to achieve the medium-term Kyoto Protocol targets and the objectives of the European Union Directives. The aim is to develop biomass technologies and infrastructures to create a solid international bioenergy market. However, this objective can be reached only through implementing government policies that are consistent with the international targets for the development of renewable energy sources. The conference, which took place in Rome from 10 to 14 May 2004, attracted over 1 200 participants from 90 countries. The European Commission contributed to many of the conference sessions and had a stand in the exhibition area.

Bonn important for renewables

The recent governmental conference ‘Renewables 2004’, held in Bonn in the first week of June, saw government delegates representing countries from all continents adopt a declaration containing an International Action Programme and policy recommendations to boost the share of renewable energy in the total energy supply – an achievement which reflects our joint vision of a sustainable energy future for the entire world. The success of the conference was also felt at the side event on EU research activities in the field of renewable energy, organised jointly by Directorates-General (DG) Research, Environment and Transport and Energy.

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Bioenergy in Jönköping

The first World Bioenergy Conference and Exhibition was held in Jönköping, Sweden, from 2 to 4 June 2004. The event was a professional focal point for major players in the global bioenergy industry and offered an opportunity to examine the lessons learnt and the experiences gained from around the world on the use of biomass for energy generation. The event combined a trade fair, conference and excursions to local biomass initiatives. Almost 1 700 visitors came, including 270 conference participants from 34 different countries. Visitor feedback was very positive and the organisers are planning for the next World Bioenergy, to be held from 30 May to 1 June 2006, to be considerably bigger.

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PV progress in Paris

The 19th European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition was held in Paris from 7 to 11 June 2004. The scientific committee received a record number of abstracts from which 45 plenary presentations, with an additional 220 detailed oral presentations and over 900 poster presentations, were selected. The conference looked forward to increased PV use in Europe as grid-connected systems become more widespread and the costs of PV decrease. The European Commission contributed to many of the conference sessions and, in particular, the stand of the Joint Research Centre attracted many visitors.

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