Renewables industry's top names to come together in Edinburgh

March 18-19 conference will see industry's brightest and best grapple with make-or-break issues ---- Renewables generate equivalent of 40% of Scotland's electricity and contributed £1.5bn to country's economy in 2012

Scotland's dynamic renewables industry comes under the microscope at Scottish Renewables' Annual Conference in Edinburgh this month.

The event - which is set to attract more than 1,000 delegates and 60 exhibitors – will bring together developers, politicians, electricity network operators, consultants, supply chain and finance experts for two days of networking and debating.

Those attending will discuss where the sector is now, what the future holds and how crucial cost reductions can be achieved as renewables become an increasingly competitive part of the energy mix.

A conference dinner will be addressed by Paul Wheelhouse MSP, Minister for Environment and Climate Change, and will see the announcement of the 2014 Saltire Prize Medal winner.

Niall Stuart, Chief Executive of Scottish Renewables, said: "Our Annual Conference isn't just a chance for the renewables industry to come together and discuss the developments of the last 12 months – it's a chance to help shape the future of the industry.

"With the Electricity Market Reform process coming to an end, there is a real sense that the industry stands at a crossroads, making 2014's conference one of our most eagerly-awaited ever.

"Renewables are already making a huge contribution to the economy of Scotland. Many of those attending will be the ones who will keep that momentum going as Scotland's ambitious 2020 renewables targets approach."

Day one, on Tuesday March 18 at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre, sees Christian Egal, CEO of EDF Energy Renewables; Ronnie Bonnar, Managing Director of Repsol Nuevas Energias UK and Martin McAdam, Chief Executive of Aquamarine Power, among others, discuss the main threats to the development of their sector, and the actions necessary to overcome these challenges.

Later in the day Dr Richard Smith, Head of Energy Strategy and Policy at National Grid, will discuss future energy scenarios for the UK, while in a separate session Mark Copley of Ofgem will speak on Future Trading Arrangements and the challenge of delivering secure, low carbon and affordable electricity.

Throughout the conference the exhibition hall will bring companies including ABB, Aggreko and RES Offshore face-to-face with delegates. Alongside the main hall, the exhibition showcase gives exhibitors ten minutes to present to delegates on an issue that their business feels is a priority for the sector. Taking up that opportunity, among others, are Skills Development Scotland, SP Energy Networks and Green Cat Renewables.

On day two the conference will split into four separate events examining the pillars which support the growth of the industry: Finance, Planning and Consents, Grid and, Technology and Innovation.

The Grid Conference will hear from the Department of Energy and Climate Change's Head of European Energy Markets, who will join others to discuss the move towards an integrated European energy market and electricity network.

The Technology Conference will showcase emerging and innovative solutions and practices which can support the growth of renewables while driving down costs, while the Planning and Consents Conference will discuss whether our revamped onshore framework will deliver or stifle projects, and if the industry is blazing the right trail for offshore consenting.

This year's Finance Conference will look at the latest trends in renewable energy finance, the risks to be addressed, the various public sector interventions to support key sectors, and the long term energy and investment climate.

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