Last week, more than 6,500 renewable energy professionals came together at All-Energy, the UK’s largest renewable energy event, which returned to Glasgow’s Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre (SECC).
For the second year running, leading UK law firm Shepherd and Wedderburn supported the two-day event as headline sponsor. With extensive experience advising key industry players across the whole spectrum of renewable energy projects, twelve expert lawyers from the firm’s Energy and Natural Resources practice joined All-Energy’s 460-strong speaker line-up, who between them spoke for 120 hours.
Ten conference streams and three quick-fire seminar theatres covered all aspects of renewable energy generation, as well as associated topics such as finance and investment, smart and sustainable cities and low-carbon transportation.
Getting All-Energy 2016 off to an inspirational start was Keith Anderson, Chief Executive of ScottishPower Renewables, who questioned why everyone in the renewables industry looked so “miserable” and reminded delegates in the opening plenary session to “focus on what we have achieved and continue to be a huge success”. He went on to set out three priority areas for the renewable energy industry, which continued to be key themes throughout the event: life extension of onshore wind assets, energy storage and leadership.
With first-generation onshore wind assets approaching the end of their lifespan, life extension and repowering was one of All-Energy’s hot topics. Shepherd and Wedderburn partner and Head of Planning, Colin Innes, together with Colin Robertson, a partner in the firm’s top-ranked real estate team provided a full conference theatre with insight into the legal issues faced by onshore wind asset owners planning to repower or extend the life of their sites. Echoing Anderson’s plenary presentation, Innes called for a clear policy framework and strong government leadership.
The shutdown of 50,000MWh of electricity from wind farms over the Easter holiday weekend due to lack of storage facilities, made energy storage another hotly debated topic. In his presentation, Julian Leslie, Electricity Network Development Manager at National Grid said that energy storage was on the cusp of explosive growth in the coming years but warned that the current regulatory framework was hindering deployment. Shepherd and Wedderburn partner, John Grady, who has particular expertise in contractual and regulatory matters in the utility sectors, gave attendees a whistle-stop tour of the legalities.
This year, All-Energy’s bustling exhibition space attracted around 400 exhibitors from 14 countries, who showcased renewable energy and sustainable technologies, with related products and services arranged alongside 15 interest-based visitor trails.
At the firm’s exhibition stand, Shepherd and Wedderburn lawyers invited delegates to discuss on a one-to-one-basis the Energy Bill provisions in relation to the proposed early closure of the Renewables Obligation.
Shepherd and Wedderburn Partner and Head of Green Energy Projects Clare Foster, who attended the event on both days, said:
“As in previous years, All-Energy 2016 afforded an excellent opportunity for many of our 90+ strong Energy and Natural Resources team to connect with our clients in the sector, forge new relationships and exchange ideas with renewable energy professionals, who travel from all over the UK and further afield to attend. The conference and seminar programme addressed all the key industry topics and provided a fantastic platform for us to showcase expertise from across our firm with speakers who are immersed in the sector."