Carless cities at the European Future Energy Forum

Peter Sharratt speaking at the European Future Energy Forum

One of the more interesting sessions at the European Future Energy Forum was the one on Green building (in fact it was two back to back sessions, one titled Green building and the second was titled Energy Efficiency in Commercial and public spaces).

Not surprisingly, given their heavy involvement in the organisation of the event, both talks referenced the Masdar project.

Peter Sharratt (pictured above), the Global Director, Energy & Sustainability Services for WSP Environment, keynoted and gave a superb talk taking at first a very macro view and drilling down to some really good examples from completed projects.

One of the more interesting tidbits I took from Peter’s talk was around how Masdar will be an entirely carless city. There will be large car-parks at the entrances to the city where people will leave their cars. They will then use electric Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) vehicles to go to their destination moving around the underground of the city (below street level). I asked some of the Masdar representatives how deliveries to shops would be handled, for instance and he said they would have a flat-bed equivalent of the PRTs which would handle that.

Peter said that due to the lack of compressors and more especially the lack of traffic, Masdar would be the world’s quietest city. As someone who lives beside a heavily trafficked street in Seville, this resonates hugely with me!

Interestingly this was a theme also picked up at the sustainable transport session!


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.