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Energy takes centre stage at Hanover Trade Fair

Energy joins automation and power transmission as the key themes for this year's Hanover Trade Fair, the world's leading engineering showcase, runs April 15-20.

The fair, which has been running since 1947, is expected to draw over 200,000 visitors to the stands of more than 6,000 exhibitors from 68 countries. The 2007 fair comes against the backdrop of a growing debate around the world on the need for industry to face up to the challenges of global warming and the risks posed to energy supplies. This has helped push climate change to the top of the agenda of leading international organizations, including the G-8 rich industrial nations and the EU. But also automation, energy efficiency, the pros and cons of relocating to low-cost countries and safeguards against product piracy are to be major items on the agenda of this year's fair, said Sepp Heckmann, chairman of Deutsche Messe, the company that organizes the show.

This year's partner country is Turkey, whose Prime Minister Recep Erdogan will join German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the formal opening on Sunday evening. Turkey follows Russia and India, which were the trade fair's partner countries in the two previous years. More than 250 Turkish companies, including several of the nation's leading corporations, are expected in Hanover for what is the world's biggest industrial and technology fair. Highlighting the role that energy is likely to play at the five-day fair, Turkey's energy and gas companies are expected to take centre stage in the nation's pavilion, with the country having emerged as a major energy link between Asia and Europe.

A highpoint of the Sunday evening opening ceremony will be the presentation of the Hermes Award for outstanding technological innovation. The winner receives a prize of €100,000 ($135,000). The fair's doors open to the public on Monday April 16 and close on Friday April 20. Heckmann expects up to 6,000 Turkish visitors to turn up at the fair to admire the latest generation of robots and other automated equipment on show. Among the special events is the World Energy Dialogue , where the main focus this year is on energy transmission at every stage of the cycle, from transmission through distribution to consumption. Former director of the UN Environment Program Klaus Toepfer and the head of energy giant Vattenfall Europe, Klaus Rauscher, are to join German Economics Minister Michael Glos at the dialogue. In addition to conventional energy issues, Hanover also plans to place emphasis on alternative power supplies such as wind and solar energy.

Besides Turkey, a series of events at the Hanover fair will also focus on economic and industrial developments in other nations and regions, notably Eastern Europe. This includes business forums on Russia, Siberia, Belarus and Ukraine. A business day is also planned for one of the European Union's new member states, Romania. In addition an EU-Latin American business summit at the fair will discuss moves to develop both conventional and renewable energy projects and improve energy efficiency. (