This has been a very special week for Aberdeen - a chance for the city to well and truly make its mark and position itself as one of the great energy capitals of the world - and it has certainly seen a tremendous gathering of those involved with all aspects of the renewable energy industry.
The University of Aberdeen, through the College of Physical Sciences, hosted a prestigious international renewables event – the World Renewable Energy Congress 2005 (WREC2005), which was held at the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre (AECC) from May 22-27, 2005.
WREC2005 opened with a series of workshops on renewable energy and attracted over 300 delegates from nearly 50 countries to the Granite City. The six-day event brought together top international specialists, researchers, industrialists, manufacturers, financiers, policy makers and government officials. WREC2005 provided an important international focus for renewable energy research capabilities to come under the spotlight, along with the technologies, products and ambitions.
During the event, delegates had the opportunity to attend keynote presentations by leading experts in the renewables field. Technical and plenary sessions, workshops and social events also formed part of the packed Congress programme. Congress participants shared the latest ideas and innovations, established valuable contacts and developed new collaborations in renewable energy and the environment. From biomass production and conversion, to fuel cell technology, from low energy architecture to safety in renewables, from tide and marine technology to wind energy – everything relating to renewable energy has been highlighted at this landmark event. It has been a tour de force for renewable energy in Aberdeen. The Congress provided a state-of-the-art update on renewable energy research, and also provided the opportunity for delegates to see the rapidly developing UK renewable energy industry sector.
Since the first meeting in 1990 the Congress has gained a reputation as the premier scientific forum for the exchange of information in renewable energy. However, this is the first time that the annual world renewable energy congress has been held in Scotland. The event was held in Denver, Colorado, last year and is scheduled for Florence, Italy, in 2006.
Deputy First Minister Jim Wallace, joined WREC delegates at the opening session on Monday to discuss the future of renewable energy. Mr Wallace said: “The choice of Aberdeen as the venue of this year’s WREC confirms Scotland’s role as a leading player in these are truly exciting times, and one of the reasons why the World Renewable Congress is being held this year in Aberdeen (WREC2005). It is a tribute to Scotland – and in particular Aberdeen – that the city has been chosen to host such a globally significant conference.”
Dr Mohammed Imbabi, Senior Lecturer, College of Physical Sciences and Chairman of the WREC2005 Organising Committee, said: “I am delighted at the success of this year’s World’s Renewable Energy Congress, providing an explicit link between renewable energy, the environment and sustainability. The event attracted delegates from across the UK and around the world and has brought about valuable discussion around this year’s theme for the Congress, ‘Renewable Energy, Technology, Innovation and the Environment’. By hosting WREC2005, alongside the All-Energy Conference and Exhibition, we were able to bring academics, policy makers, industry representatives and consumers together under one roof to bring about stimulating synergy and co-operation between these groups.”
WREC2005 coincided with the annual All-Energy 2005 conference and exhibition, which took place at the AECC on Wednesday and Thursday, highlighting the City’s reputation as a vibrant, dynamic centre of excellence for renewable energy research and development.
The two events represented the largest ever gathering of renewable energy experts and exhibitors in the UK, and gave Aberdeen the chance to show how its oil and gas expertise can be transferred to the sector.
The University of Aberdeen has significant research capability relevant to the energy industries, much of which is directed at renewables.
Professor Paul Mitchell, Technical Chair and Director of Research, College of Physical Sciences, University of Aberdeen, is committed in his support of the renewable energy business. He said: “This is the first time that WREC has been held in Scotland, where the importance of renewable energy has been highlighted by the Scottish Executive’s commitment to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 60% by 2050.
“The University of Aberdeen has a huge level expertise in the area of renewable energy both from within the University and across the region. “
Dr Imbabi concluded: “This has been a fantastic week. We have had great speakers, great science, and a great social programme. I hope all the delegates who attended the Congress enjoyed the hospitality shown by Aberdeen.”