Every two years the BIEE holds its research conference at the University of Oxford. This year’s conference takes place on September 22-23 2020 and the conference theme is Energy for a Net Zero Society. The 2021 research conference will focus on building the foundations and policies of the low carbon transition aimed at achieving a net zero carbon society in a way that is fair and just. It will address how we live, work and travel, and how policy, infrastructure and the private sector can respond to enable the transformation of heat, transport and industry.
Why This Conference ?
Firstly BIEE conferences have long been acknowledged for the high quality of speakers. For instance, in 2016 we had Edward Davey, former Secretary of State for Energy & Climate Change, delivering an highly entertaining and informative after-dinner speech in the Great Hall of St John’s College, Oxford. In 2018 speakers included Philip New CEO Energy Systems Catapult, Barbara Hammond Low Carbon Hub, Peter Bance Origami Energy, Lawrence Orsini, Founder LO3 Energy, Jenni Saunders ex NEA, and Juliet Davenport CEO, Good Energy. The 2021 line up so far includes Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng, Laura Sandys Challenging Ideas, Chris Stark CEO the Committee on Climate Change, Prof Jillian Anable Chair in Transport and Energy at Leeds and Richard Bruce Director of Energy Technology and Innovation at the DfT, Paul Spence Director of Strategy and Corporate Affairs, EDF.
The conference also offers a friendly but challenging environment to discuss pressing energy issues and meet like-minded stakeholders from energy industry, finance, academia and government. In the words of Prof. Matthew Leach 2016 chair the conference offers a unique opportunity for this broad coalition of stakeholders to ‘learn from each other, spark off each other and build new networks to help drive the energy sector forward’.
I firmly believe the conference strikes the perfect balance in terms of size: large enough to ensure the right people are there but intimate enough that you can easily connect with influential people over a coffee or a drink. As an academic, BIEE has afforded me the opportunity to discuss my research with former energy ministers, CEOs of energy utilities and senior civil servants, in turn opening up new opportunities for collaboration. You simply don’t get these opportunities every day and as such BIEE is always the first conference in my diary.
This year’s two day conference programme includes three plenary sessions with high profile guest speakers, eight paper sessions showcasing the latest research, policy and industry analysis and at least four ‘dialogue’ sessions for discussion and debate of specific topic areas, In addition there will be a dedicated session for contributions from students and young energy professionals. We will be hosting a ‘Diversity for Net Zero’ breakfast session led by Dr Maureen Paul from OFGEM, which will discuss how diversity contributes to achieving a just transition to a Net Zero society.
The conference will be held at the new Blavatnik School of Government. As well as being a stunning purpose-built space for a conference, it is one of the most environmentally sustainable buildings in Oxford. It has been certified as BREEAM Excellent; with A Rated energy performance and consumes 49% less energy in comparison to existing UK buildings of the same size and use. ( It has automated natural ventilation with daytime solar blinds and summer night cooling, a Ground Source Heat Pump (GSHP) system for heating and cooling, solar panel electricity systems and low energy lighting, and rainwater harvesting, green roof and storm tanks). The traditional three-course dinner will this year be hosted by Worcester College.
On behalf of the BIEE, I hope you are able to take part in what will undoubtedly be another exciting BIEE conference this year and help inform the energy policy debate both in the UK and beyond.
Dr Matthew Hannon
Chancellor’s Fellow, Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship, University of Strathclyde,
BIEE Council Member