Business leaders put energy into renewables conference

Published 25th September 2012 at 9:31am

Business leaders from throughout the UK attended ReXpo, a new renewable energy and Green Deal conference and exhibition in Sheffield which addressed the supplier opportunities in the emerging energy market in Yorkshire and Humber.

Almost 300 delegates and exhibitors were present at the first ever ReXpo event which took place over two days at The Blue Shed. The event started on Tuesday 18 September and Deborah Egan, board member of Sheffield City Region LEP with responsibility for low carbon opened the event with objectives from the Low Carbon Sector Group which includes harnessing opportunities for supply chains and procurement whilst collaborating with other LEP’s regionally.

A recorded speech by Greg Barker MP, Energy and Climate Minister was shown at the high profile event where he highlighted the fantastic work Sheffield City Region LEP were doing in playing a key role in bringing together local players to address the low carbon agenda.

LEP speakers at the event included LEP Private Sector Board Member Deborah Egan and LEP Low Carbon Sector Group Chair Nick Tovey.

Day one focused on renewable energy with discussions about the latest developments in marine energy, biomass, onshore and offshore wind, carbon capture and storage to name but a few. Speakers included David Shepherd, Development Executive at ABLE UK who discussed how their world class Marine Energy Park will make a massive contribution to establishing the Humber as a world leader in the development of renewable energy technologies.

Energy storage and clean fuel manufacturers ITM Power presented about their hydrogen vehicles and major plans going forward. The ITM Power team bought their Hyundai ix35 fuel cell car to ReXpo which attracted a great deal of attention from delegates on arrival.

Discussions on day two focussed on the Green Deal, the Government’s scheme to make the nation’s homes more energy efficient, which is due to be launched in October. Delegates heard from the likes of Carillion and Keepmoat about the opportunities available to SMEs in the region. They discussed how local companies can break into the supply chain and apply for opportunities.

The event was delivered by three local businesses who collectively have experience of working in the renewable energy and low carbon market.  Mark O Reilly, Director of Square 5 Ltd has over 25 years of experience in the manufacturing sector and heads up Team Humber Marine Alliance who focus on Offshore Wind supply chain opportunities for regional companies. Other partners include built environment specialists Think Zero and The Blue Shed.

This is the first year the renewable conference was launched; however the event aims to be the leading renewable event in the north. Further announcements will be made soon about the next ReXpo and supporting events.

James Newman, Chairman of the Sheffield City Region LEP said, “Renewable and low carbon energy is a key sector and I am delighted that this annual industry led initiative is now happening within this region. The Sheffield LEP is proud to play its part in Rexpo and I hope this year’s event has inspired regional companies to get on board.

“Renewable energy is playing a pivotal role in rebalancing the UK economy and the event demonstrated our region’s passion, ability and expertise within this sector.”

Mark O’ Reilly, Director of Square 5 Ltd said:

“At ReXpo we heard about the SMart Wind £13billion Hornsea Offshore Wind Zone and the Able Marine Energy Park project in which has seen £50 million pounds invested already. There are also big investments planned for Green Port Hull as Siemens looks to invest in the city.

“This is the first year of ReXpo and we are delighted that the event has bought together leaders in the renewable and Green Deal sector. We have been overwhelmed by the support of partners, sponsors and attendees.”

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