Leading UK law firm Shepherd and Wedderburn has bid goodbye to another year at the All-Energy, conference, its third as headline sponsor. The annual event, which took place on 10 and 11 May at Glasgow’s Scottish Events Campus, is the largest renewable energy event in the UK.
As the conference came to a close, the firm’s 90-strong Energy and Natural Resources group resumed its busy practice of acting for key industry players across the whole spectrum of renewable energy projects.
Speaking at the close of the event, Clare Foster, Head of Clean Energy at the firm commented:
“This is the third year we’ve acted as headline sponsor for All-Energy, and we are delighted yet again by the calibre of the event. As with previous years, All-Energy 2017 provided an excellent opportunity for our 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 covered all aspects of renewable energy generation and provided an excellent platform for us to showcase the expertise from across our firm."
The event got off to an auspicious start when Professor Sir Jim McDonald, Principal and Vice Chancellor, University of Strathclyde, was joined by The First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon. Ms Sturgeon spoke about the Scottish Government’s commitment to renewable energy production and why it is so important to get it right, saying:
“Over the past ten years, our pattern of energy consumption has changed considerably, helping us to meet – and exceed – our 2020 target for reducing energy consumption six years early.
“Earlier this year we published our draft Energy Strategy. And what that does is set out our long-term plan to create an integrated, low carbon energy system – one that will benefit our economy, our environment and the people of this country.”
Setting the tone for the rest of the event, the All-Energy panels looked at the myriad of available options and technologies to meet these targets. And this was certainly the focus of the Sustainable Cities Panel, which Clare Foster, opened by asking whether the Scottish government’s energy strategy and its desire to move away from traditional energy generation to a synergy of renewable energy technologies and a low carbon future could really become a reality.
Out of the ensuing debate, covering everything from strengthening government policy to the need for better local leadership, emerged a new word to describe what is needed to make sustainable cities a reality – “joinedupness”. The phrase, coined by Jonathan Guthrie of the Robertson Group, expresses the need for more joined up or cohesive thinking from policy makers, community leaders, and anyone else who is working to make decarbonisation happen.
The announcement that the world’s largest floating wind farm scheduled for construction off Scotland’s North East coast also generated a lot of interest and discussion during the panel session which provided the market outlook for offshore wind , chaired by Shepherd and Wedderburn partner, Patricia Hawthorn.
Liz McRobb, partner at the firm, well known for her work in the utilities sector, spoke on Aviation mitigation – the ‘airscape’ in a post RO world; while solicitor, Stephanie Mill provided a whistle-stop tour of the key milestones between gaining consent and commencing construction of offshore projects, taking time along the way to answer questions from the floor; and David Anderson explored dispute resolution.
Shepherd and Wedderburn partner John Grady also chaired a session on turning waste into energy and during that panel session, G. John Kuipers, CEO & Owner of Pyr-Oil Group perfectly summed up the motivations behind the drive to turn waste into something useful, saying “we want to clean up the world.”
At the firm’s exhibition stand, Shepherd and Wedderburn lawyers chatted with delegates on a variety of topics including the Scottish Government’s Energy Strategy, as well as a host of other issues facing the energy sector.
The day two plenary session focused on Brexit and its implications for the UK energy sector. Chaired by Dr Nina Skorupska CBE, CEO, Renewable Energy Association, the panel comprised academics, leading figures from the industry and again featured the firm’s Clare Foster, who this time was contributing to the debate on what Brexit means in the short and medium term for the UK.