Alternative energy issues up for public debate at University event

Alternative energy issues up for public debate at University event

Controversial and opposing views on alternative energy issues will be up for public discussion tomorrow evening (Thursday 12 March) at an event hosted by the University of Aberdeen.

Bringing together leading experts from key areas of the alternative energy sector, the Energy Controversies: Alternative Energy Panel Discussion will take place at the University's King's College Conference Centre beginning at 6pm.

The event is part of the institution's Energy Controversies series which aims to influence energy and social policy at a local and national level, by tackling the current challenges and debates within the energy sector.

Members of the 250 strong audience will be able to pose questions to key representatives from the sector during the panel session. 

The representatives taking part in the discussion will be:  


  • Professor Ian Bryden – Institute for Energy systems, University of Edinburgh. Professor Bryden is a past Chair of Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group and a member of the Forum for Renewable Energy Development in Scotland. Formerly Head of the Robert Gordon University Sustainable Energy Research Group.


  • Almuth Ernsting - Almuth Ernsting has been a climate change and environmental campaigner since 2005.  In 2006, she helped to found Biofuelwatch - a UK campaign group.  Biofuelwatch has generated many resources and educational materials on the social and environmental impacts of bioenergy and in particular biofuel production and supports the campaign for an EU moratorium on agrofuels from large-scale monocultures. Biofuelwatch works closely with other UK and international organisations and participates in the international civil society debate on biofuels. 


  • Professor Maxwell Irvine - Former Chairman of Energy Committee, Professor of Physics, University of Manchester. Former Principal & Vice-Chancellor, University of Aberdeen; Former Principal & Vice-Chancellor, University of Birmingham.


  •  Dr Euan Mearns – Editor, The Oil Drum Europe with interests in UK and European energy security and the energy efficiency of energy production systems.  Following 8 years spent at the University of Oslo and the Institute for Energy Research, Norway, Dr Mearns returned to native Aberdeen in 1991 where he established a geochemical analysis company serving UK and international oil industries.


  • Dr Derek Taylor – Open University. Dr Taylor works for the Energy and Environment Research Unit at the Open University. He is a member of the UK Solar Energy Society Committee, promoting the use of solar energy in the UK, and has a particular interest in photovoltaic cladding on buildings. Dr Taylor has also developed a variety of concepts for novel wind turbines, including the idea of integrating wind turbines into building structures.

The discussion will be chaired by Louise Batchelor, environmental commentator and former BBC Scotland Environment Correspondent. 

The event is the third to take place as part of the Energy Controversies series.  

Five further lectures are still to take place in the series including presentations by Dr Peter Jackson, Senior Director for Oil Industry Activity at Cambridge Energy Research Associates and Professor Bahman Tohidi, Director of the Centre for Gas Hydrate Research at Heriot Watt University.

Anyone interested in booking a free place for any of the remaining lectures in the series should visit or telephone the University of Aberdeen Events Office on 01224 273874.