“Some kind of event going on this week?” the driver asked me, as I climbed aboard his taxi, gratefully taking shelter from the freezing drizzle that was soaking the streets of Glasgow. Clearly the arrival in the city of more than five thousand delegates from the renewable energy industry, all suited, booted and clutching glossy conference brochures, had not gone unnoticed.
This was the Renewable UK 2013 conference, a three day renewable energy event starting on October 30th. And of course, Renewable World was there, to promote our work tackling poverty through renewable energy for some of the poorest consumers in the world, and continuing to strengthen our vital industry connections.
This was my first conference and it gave me a fascinating insight into the renewable energy industry. I was impressed by a sector that felt resilient and established, young but not tentative, investing, getting on with business, and delivering projects. Even in the midst of the grey weather, the slow economic climate, and the mixed political messages that emerged during the week, the industry felt focused on its long-term mission, imbued with a vision of sustainable, renewable, low-carbon energy supplies.
The synergy and compatibility with the work of Renewable World was clear. Our corporate partners know from experience that renewable energy is a game-changer. They understand that used productively, clean reliable energy can provide profitable economic activity for local communities, kick-start new businesses and stimulate economies. And they recognise that Renewable World are working towards exactly these benefits, in remote off-grid communities and areas of market failure in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Where poverty and disadvantage are so entrenched that commercial energy delivery and private investment models just do not work, our programmes team are there on the ground, working with local partners to provide clean, sustainable energy that empowers communities and individuals
The conference made clear to me why Renewable World is the chosen charity and non-profit partner of leading renewable energy companies and trade associations. In an industry where Corporate Social Responsibility is more than just a buzzword, we are the obvious choice for companies and organisations who want to leverage their resources and expertise to enhance the lives of poor people around the world.
It was an excellent opportunity for CEO Neil Jeffery and trustee Louis FitzGerald to thank our corporate partners in person, such as DONG, Stratkraft, GL Garrad Hassan and RES and to distribute our latest Annual Review, keeping them up-to-date with our work. Meanwhile, our Technical Director Emilio Simonet was talking ‘nuts and bolts’ with the wide variety of engineers, manufacturers and installers exhibiting at the conference, looking for ways to tap the wealth of knowledge present to help tackle poverty. To those who stopped by the stand to express an interest in our work and have a chat, thank you, and please keep in touch!
All in all, a busy and productive few days for Renewable World, for the industry, and, perhaps most of all, for Glasgow’s taxi drivers.