12th May 2009
The countdown to All-Energy ’09 – the UK’s largest renewable energy exhibition and conference – has begun in earnest with just 11 days to go before it opens in Aberdeen (20-21 May). This year’s show has the largest-ever exhibition with 360 exhibitors from 13 countries taking up the two exhibition halls at Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre; more conference sessions and speakers than ever before; and already more than 4500 from home and overseas have registered to attend (a record figure at this point before the show).
“We certainly look well set for success at this the ninth annual All-Energy,” says project director, Judith Patten from Media Generation Events who organise the show in partnership with QMDI; with Vattenfall as the Principal Sponsor; and Aberdeen City and Shire as the Host Sponsor. All-Energy is run in association with the British Wind Energy Association (BWEA), Scottish Renewables (SRF) and Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group (AREG); the Society for Underwater Technology is its learned society patron, and it has more than 30 government departments (from Westminster and Holyrood), trade associations, and professional institutes as official supporting organisations. The two-day event is free to attend for all with a professional / business interest in renewable energy.
The conference gets off to a flying start on 20 May with a ministerial and governmental plenary session in which both Rt Hon Ed Miliband MP, Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) – who will be introduced by Ann McKechin MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Scotland Office – and Jim Mather MSP, Minister for Enterprise, Energy and Tourism will speak, as will the Lord Provost of the City of Aberdeen. Overseas input will be from HE James Wright, High Commissioner for Canada in the UK and Dr Tidu Maini, Executive Chairman, Qatar Science & Technology Park, who will speak on ‘Qatar's investment in research & development for the post-carbon era’.
Keynote speakers during the conference include Adam Bruce, Chairman of BWEA and Head of Corporate Affairs, Mainstream Renewable Power; Keith MacLean, Board Member SRF and Head of Policy and Public Affairs, Scottish and Southern Energy; Professor Paul Mitchell, Board Member Energy Technology Partnership in Scotland, and University of Aberdeen; Dr David Clarke, Chief Executive, Energy Technologies Institute; Ash Gupta of The Gupta Partnership; Nick Goodall, Chief Executive, Renewable Fuels Agency; Steve Smith, Managing Director Networks, Ofgem; Professor John Irvine, SHFCA Board Member and `St Andrew’s University. In all more than 250 speakers will be taking part in the conference programme.
Seven packed parallel sessions
Following the opening plenary session, the conference splits into seven parallel sessions that continue throughout the two days covering all forms of renewable and sustainable energy, its uses and the challenges and opportunities facing the industry. “The range of free-to-attend sessions is wide and provides an ideal method of updating visitors and exhibitors on all that is going on in the rapidly moving renewable energy industry,” says Judith Patten. “Day One sees compelling keynote addresses from representatives of industry and academia; updates on government initiatives; and the response from Scottish industry. Then there are three-session streams on wave and tidal energy, sustainable transport (an introduction for 2009), and the grid; a business briefing session that provides information on doing business in China and the USA; two sessions on carbon capture and storage developments; two sessions too on onshore wind; and individual sessions on skills and training; and on both Scotland’s and the East of England’s role in offshore wind development.
“On Day Two attention turns to The Crown Estate who will provide an update on their involvement with all elements of marine activity,” she explains. “There is a three-session stream on offshore wind; sessions on hydrogen, fuel cells, renewables the perfect working relationship; planning for marine renewables – the environment, friend or foe?; two sessions for the farming community; the role of the Scottish Universities Energy Technology Partnership; hydropower; nuclear power; power storage - the ‘holy grail’; biomass for heat and/or power; managing community benefit; renewables for communities; low carbon buildings and microgeneration (residential); investment, finance, funding and business; public sector – mobilising renewable energy for the public good; low carbon buildings and onsite renewables (non-residential); green data centres; the Austria Renewable Energy Technology Showcase; and aviation, radar and wind – an update. There is also a seminar on CHP on the Danish pavilion.”
“It’s fair to say we have two exceptionally busy days ahead of us!” says Judith Patten. “Our visitors and exhibitors can dip in and out of the conference at will and also spend a great deal of their time in the exhibition finding out about the wide range of exhibits that reflect the content of the conference. We expect both the exhibition and conference to be really busy.”
Networking is key
Networking is a key component of All-Energy. Highlight of the two days is always the Civic Reception hosted by Aberdeen City Council on the evening of 20 May, which is followed immediately by the Giant Networking Evening with food, entertainment, subject-specific networking tables, and entertainment. Coaches will whisk all visitors and exhibitors from the halls to the Beach Ballroom at the close of the working day on 20 May so that networking can begin in earnest. Then following the Giant Networking Evening those for whom the night is still young can go on to Tiger, Tiger where a warm welcome will await them.
Before the show begins BWEA is hosting a BWEA Connect networking event on the evening of 19 May. On 20 May Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce has its now traditional Renewable Energy Business Breakfast; and throughout All-Energy near the end of the first day there will be receptions on stands and in lounges – UK Trade & Industry/DECC will be hosting such an event in their lounge at the show; The IET will be holding one at the end of the skills and training conference session; and exhibitors will be entertaining visitors on their stands.
“We have virtual networking available too,” explains Judith Patten. “Those eager to ‘tweet’ can use Twitter with the dedicated #AE09 hashtag. Additionally, everybody registered to attend All-Energy ’09 can start networking before they even arrive! We’ve set up an online networking service that will go live on Wednesday (13 May). This will enable registrants to contact others intending being at All-Energy to exchange views and set up meetings. Everyone registered will receive an email with full instructions. The online networking service will remain open for a few weeks after the show for those who actually attended All-Energy ’09.”