03 09 2015
The final conference of theEuropean North Sea Energy Alliance, an EU-backed conference on the future of energy in Europe, was held in Edinburgh beginning of September. The two-day event – the first of its kind – attracted the interest of experts and delegates from across the globe. The current and future challenges which Energy Systems Integration requires to address at regional, inter-regional and international scales were presented and debated. Through practical and themed workshops an inter-sectoral ESI Agenda for the Future was developed. Scottish Renewables ran the event.
Using regions around the North Sea as a test-bed, the conference’s Scottish organisers have been working with partners from Norway, Germany, the Netherlands and Denmark to explore how we make better use of our energy systems – electricity, heat and transport – to serve homes, business and public buildings.
Director of Policy Jenny Hogan told how changes in the way we live and work, and a desire to save money and cut carbon emissions, mean new ways of delivering the energy we use must be developed. She said: “Political events are changing the European energy landscape and have led to a new focus on getting secure, safe supplies of energy for the continent, while moving away from fossil fuels.”
“Adapting our energy systems and networks to become smarter and greener could solve so many of the problems we currently face as our lives become more dependent on harder-to-source energy. For example, allowing communities to produce their own electricity and biofuel, then use it to power their homes and cars, reduces the burden on both the electricity grid and takes tankers off the road network. Household batteries which store energy from rooftop solar panels and then use it to power an electric car similarly reduces the pressure on our national electricity grid and puts the consumer in charge of their own energy supply.”
“Spare electricity produced by a wind turbine can be used to create hydrogen gas, which can be stored and later used to power hydrogen buses.” On a grander scale, decommissioned oil and gas infrastructure can be repurposed and used for carbon capture and storage projects, reducing the carbon emissions from fossil fuel power stations. The opportunities which appear when we break down the barriers we’ve traditionally placed on energy are enormous.”