The business end of local energy

On 7 and 8 October, Nextgen Expo will return to the NAEC, Stoneleigh, with an exciting and innovative conference programme that is now live on the company's website. In addition, a wide range of companies and organisations will be exhibiting at the event, delivering maximum value for delegates.

2015 has been a challenging time for the renewable and low carbon energy industries. In recent weeks, the government has scrapped subsidies for onshore wind and commercial solar power, the two cheapest forms of clean energy, slashed the energy efficiency budget, lowered taxes on polluting firms and introduced a tax on clean energy. The Green Deal Finance Company funding ending is another sign that the government, for now, is not focusing on the carbon reduction agenda.

Yet, as you will hear throughout the Nextgen event, there is a compelling economic case for the widescale deployment of decentralised energy, which has the capacity to deliver greener, more reliable and cheaper energy for all.

As part of this, there will be a particular focus on sustainable heat: in the UK, we spend £32 billion a year on heating. It accounts for around a third of our greenhouse gas emissions. Without changing the way we produce and consume heat, we will not meet our long-term climate change target. Yet many businesses, and much of the public, are still unaware of the renewable heating technologies available to them, and the value in waste heat. As a result, for the first time the event will have a theatre dedicated to solutions in sustainable heating – be it in towns and cities or for rural buildings and industrial processes.

This year, in addition to the event's strategic partner, the REA, Nextgen Expo is collaborating with a range of industry and governmental associations. With renewable heat a major feature of the conference, it has partnered with the Wood Heat Association (WHA), for example, to emphasise the importance of biomass as a sustainable, cost-effective heat source. At the top of the WHA's agenda is the drive for efficiency and competitiveness in an era of RHI degression, whilst ensuring the quality of new installations.

The discussions in the seminar programme are not simply about the best, most effective technologies, but about solutions to delegates' various problems. There will be a look at the business models, stakeholder engagement, specification and many other factors which go into delivering effective low cost, sustainable energy – be it heat networks, smart grids, biogas, on site CHP, biomass, heat pumps or others solutions.

The event also shines a light on how towns and cities are overcoming the challenges they face in delivering energy security, sustainability and affordability whilst also reducing emissions. At the heart of this is the transition to a civic energy future and the realisation of a local energy agenda, with individuals, communities and local authorities taking a lead.

It will also raise the profile on the emergence of localised smarter energy solutions and how these can deliver far greater value from intermittent, renewable generation supply, hence mitigating the impact of the drop in incentives.

The programme for the agri-rural sector is equally compelling and reflects the vital role they will play in energy security and emissions reduction. As an event, Nextgen supports the call for the government to provide more support to on-farm AD, either through minimising red tape or commercial incentives. The benefits are not purely energy production, but more sustainable waste management, emissions reduction and nutrient recycling.

The conference will once again be hosted across four theatres, with expert speakers from across the political, academic and industrial spectrum:
1. The Nextgen Theatre
Covering current market issues, policy, legislation and industry analysis.

2. The Municipal Energy Theatre
Focusing on the solutions available to towns and cities in order to deliver energy security, sustainability, reduced emissions and affordability.

3. The Agri-Rural Renewables Theatre
Providing a range of advice and insights to the agricultural and rural sectors in this space.

4. The Sustainable Heat for Buildings and Processes Theatre
Giving advice to building developers and landowners, energy managers and project leaders on how to make the right commercial choice for building stock or industrial/production process. This will include seminars for installers on new standards and protocols being introduced for renewable heat systems.

This year a range of networking activities will be launched, including a roundtable breakout format. At the heart of this is knowledge share, where delegates and buyers come together with industry experts to explore in greater detail specific opportunities and issues, e.g. energy storage business models, biomass specification, on-farm AD operation, successful district heating developments, and getting investment in for large scale energy efficiency projects.

Register free for Nextgen today at www.nextgenexpo.co.uk

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