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Innovation and collaboration at utilities events


his year’s Energy, Renewa- bles and Water Events showcased an array of resource procurement and innovation to improve the way the world’s assets are managed and in- spire a new generation of environ- mental consultants, resource and sustainability managers. Organised in partnership with the Major Energy Users Council (MEUC), Energy Institute and Ener- gy Services & Technology Associa- tion (ESTA), the show, which took place at Birmingham’s National Exhibition (NEC) from 13-14 Sep- tember, featured over 100 leading exhibitors and hosted 102 expert speakers across the two days. The events featured an ex- ceptionally strong conference programme, which ran across four dedicated seminar theatres, provid- ing unparalleled access to leading case studies and expert insight that kept delegates abreast of the latest developments, trends and innova- tions.

Highlights included Nina Skorup- ska, Chief Executive at the Renew- able Energy Association, who led an insightful session mapping the future of renewables amidst the Brexit uncertainties. E-ON’s sessions in the Energy Information Theatre

drew delegates as energy manag- ers sought to hear from one of the UK’s big six about the utilities’ per- spective to demand-side response and energy storage.

One of the programme’s most anticipated debates, Third Party Intermediaries (TPI) versus in-house, positively engaged the audience. An energy purchasing manager and a TPI went head-to-head on the possibilities, benefits and reality of achieving a fool-proof energy buy- ing strategy in-house with limited spend. They also discussed how financial guidance from brokers is valuable to breach the in-house knowledge gap. Ray Hammond, author, futurist and UN gold med- allist in futurology, tackled climate change, globalisation, asymmetric population growth and the ongo- ing energy crisis.

A business match-making platform called Energy Connects helped delegates to link with companies and arrange on-site meetings to make the most of the extensive networking opportunities at the show.

The show floor was busy with commercial conversation as big brands in attendance sought solu- tions to their resource efficiency challenges. These included: ABB Group, Siemens, China-Britain Busi- ness Council, Marks and Spencer, Tata Steel, British Gypsum, Saint Gobain UK, Manchester Metropoli- tan University and numerous local authorities.

Nicola Meadows, Event Director, said: “Our sectors continue to operate in a relentlessly-changing landscape and there is a constant need for developing ideas and solu-

Forests offer more than wood

The forest-based bioeconomy could offer more potential for sustainable growth and new investments in the EU, according to Jyrki Katainen, European Com- mission Vice-President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Com- petitiveness. Mr Katainen was speaking at a ThinkForest seminar organised by the European Forest Institute, which was held in Brus- sels on 15 November. Technical progress now al- lows the conversion of biomass into a broad range of novel products. Research and innova- tion are crucial for developing

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the forest-based bioeconomy still further, said Mr Katainen. Advanced wood-based materials and chemicals are expected to play a major role, providing op- portunities to maintain and create jobs and income. He stressed the potential of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) for creating new, innovative projects from wood.

Panellists discussed how new technologies could bring ‘added value’. Wood for biofuel can be a transition technology, but there are much better technologies around the corner. The future is

forests that provide ecosystem services, value-added materi- als such as engineered wood and innovative consumables like bioplastics. John Bell, Director of Bioeconomy at DG Research and Innovation, highlighted the importance of ‘knowing what we know and developing what we don’t know’.

New technologies and innova- tion could create ‘bioeconomic di- versity’, giving more options and building more sustainable value and jobs close to the ground. More information from

tions to make the world greener, leaner and more resource-efficient. This year’s events have helped propel remarkable innovation and best practice into mainstream consciousness.

“As the agenda widens across industry sectors, we hope to bring you the latest thinking and innova- tion available, with seminar pro- grammes that continue to engage, debate and discuss the issues that matter most.”

The Energy, Renewables and Water Events will return to the NEC next year from 12-13 September when they will once again be co-located with the RWM exhibition, the UK’s largest exhibition for resource efficiency and waste management. More information from

Register online

Now available online is registra- tion for the 5th Central European Biomass Conference (CEBC), which takes place in Graz, Austria, from 18-20 January, next year. The three-yearly CEBC atracts more than 1,100 participants from all over the world and will bring together protagonists from all sec- tors where bioenergy is employed in central Europe, generating new impetus for energy transition on the basis of previous experiences and current technological developments. More information from

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