Professor Catherine Mitchell, centred, with University of Exeter MSc Energy Policy & Sustainability students. Photo: Oliver Rudkin.

Exeter chairs major energy conference

The University of Exeter is hosting a conference with a world-class line-up of speakers in Falmouth, Cornwall, on 22 and 23 June.

The organisers hope the event, ‘Transforming the Energy Future: Pathways to Change’ will become a regular feature in the conference calendar.

The event will play host to some of the highest profile speakers ever gathered at a public conference on energy policy in the UK.

Speakers will headlined by the Head of the UK Energy Research Centre, Professor Jim Skea OBE. Professor Skea is also a Member of the Climate Change Committee and the board of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). He will be joined at the opening session by the journalist and author of Kyoto2, Oliver Tickell and the National Grid’s Head of Regulatory Strategy, Lewis Dale.

The conference will discuss the UK’s energy policy and how best to approach aspects of the triple challenges of energy security, sustainability and the transition to a low carbon energy system. Workshops will get to grips with topics such as energy citizenship, sustainable buildings, energy infrastructure and transport policy. Delegates from all sectors are invited, with strong representation expected from industry, non-governmental organisations, academia and regional government.

Professor Catherine Mitchell, course director of the MSc in Energy Policy & Sustainability at the University of Exeter's Cornwall Campus is conference Chair. Professor Mitchell joined the University of Exeter’s Geography department on the Cornwall Campus in 2007. Previously at Warwick Business School, she has also worked at the Universities of Sussex and California. She was formerly a member of the UK Government’s Energy Advisory Panel, international advisor to the New Zealand Government Energy Review and worked in the UK Cabinet Office on the Energy Review. She is currently responsible for policy and regulation within the infrastructure and supply theme of the UK Energy Research Centre and frequently advises national and international NGOs and other institutions on energy-related issues.

Professor Catherine Mitchell said: “As concerns over the impacts of climate change and energy availability grow, energy is of increasing importance to everyone’s lives; so our event is very timely. It’s also right that this conference should happen in Cornwall, which is a hub for research and innovation in energy and the environment. We have great speakers and it’s a wonderful place to discuss these important issues. I am sure it'll be both really fun and interesting to attend.”

MSc Energy Policy & Sustainability student Ian Falconer is one of the team organising the conference. He said: “Falmouth has always been a centre for communication by sea, horse and cable, and more recently Cornwall has become a centre for globally important energy research and development. This conference represents a fusion of past, present and future.”

Carleen Kelemen, Director of the Convergence Partnership Office for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, said: “Cornwall has a proud history of innovation with technologies exported around the globe. Sustainable energy is a growing industry and this high profile conference attracting worldwide attention will underline the key role Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has to play via academia, business and research and development.”

The conference is the first event to be staged in what is hoped to become an annual fixture that, in future years, forms the hub of a week-long programme of events on topics around energy production, and its distribution and use. The University of Exeter has ambitions to develop an Environment and Sustainability Institute on the Tremough Campus, which will be a world-leading centre for research.

The conference is supported by Cornwall Light & Power, part of the REG Group, a leading independent provider of renewable energy in the UK and Frame UK, specialists in sustainable off site construction, supplying timber engineered solutions to the construction industry and Wardell Armstrong International Ltd.

Conference website: http://www.exeter.ac.uk/few

Date: 22 June 2009

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