European Future Energy Forum – great show, poor turnout?


The European Future Energy Forum opened yesterday in Bilbao. The event is sponsored by the likes of Masdar, Iberdrola Renovables, Siemens and Gamesa with support from the local Basque government and Ente Vasco de la Energia.

The talks have for the most part been really interesting with the biggest problem being which track to choose when the parallel tracks are on. This morning, I went to the two tracks on sustainable transport (which I will write up in another post later) and yesterday I went to the panel discussion on renewable energy. The quality of the speakers is superb with speakers like Rene Umlauft (head of Renewables at Siemens), Robin Chase co-founder and former CEO of Zipcar, and Sandrine Dixson-Decleve the Executive Director of the International Sustainable Energy Exchange (ISEE).

The networking opportunities here are immense and I have met some spectacular people doing amazing things in the area of renewable technologies (of which more in following posts as well). But the disappointing thing about the conference has to be the turnout. The organisers were projecting 3,500 delegates. I suspect the actual figure would be closer to half that. Obviously the current economic situation is has big part to play in this. Hopefully, the event will run again because the information exchange here has been immense and if/when it does, I suspect because of the quality of this year’s inaugural European Future Energy Forum, the turnout will be far higher.