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Smart Cleantech: Led by the Consumer! (Event Review)

First published on the Cleantech Investor website, March 2014

by Anne McIvor

The first in a series of Cleantech Investor events on ‘Big Data and Cleantech’, sponsored by Navitas Capital and Smith & Williamson, took place in London on 5 March 2014. Focusing on buildings and the Internet of Things, speakers represented AlertMe, Arup, Asset Mapping, EnergyDeck, PhotonStar LED Group and Sentec.

All were broadly in agreement that the key to the deployment of ‘big data‘ within the smart grid and energy will be consumer engagement. Often, however, in order to engage consumers, the applications promoted will be far from what is traditionally thought of as cleantech.

Potential for Big Data in Energy/Smart Grid

The potential for energy efficiency in buildings is massive. As Arup’s Jim Read pointed out, buildings consume 40% of worldwide energy and produce an estimated 21% of greenhouse gas emissions. Bill Clee of Asset Mapping quoted statistics demonstrating that 47% of private sector buildings waste half of their energy. In terms of the potential to deploy big data to enhance energy efficiency within buildings, Chris Shelley of Sentec believes that:

“The Internet of Things can make up for some of the shortcomings in the energy industry/smart grid”.

There is huge potential for the increased use of microprocessors in buildings and Shelley, whose company provides sensing and measurement technology, sees the Internet of Things and the smart grid moving together in sensor space. His vision is for the smart grid to make the energy network a dynamic network. For that to happen, measurement is needed at every part of the grid. Microprocessors today can measure things that, in the past, were too expensive to measure – which means we now have the tools to utilise embedded generation and the smart grid.


Ireland's Sustainability Gathering – December 2013

First published on the Cleantech Investor website, December 2013

Minister Richard Brutonby Anne McIvor

Ireland’s Sustainability Gathering took place over two days in Dublin (11-12 December 2013) and was chaired by Stephen Nolan of the Green International Financial Services Centre (or Green IFSC), which leads the cluster of Ireland’s growing number of green asset management companies.

An array of high level speakers at the event, which took place just as Ireland exited the EU-IMF bailout programme, included Ireland’s Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton. At one point during the proceedings, the Minister shared the stage with his elder brother, former Taoiseach John Bruton (currently President of IFSC Ireland). Alongside the Brutons were a mix of senior businessmen, investors, civil servants and representatives of public agencies – as well as eminent historian Professor Diarmaid Ferriter, who offered insightful background on the need for Ireland to define prosperity in a new way than during the ‘Celtic Tiger’ era, with its emphasis on property investment.

Natural Capital

The Irish Government is upbeat about its success in recovering from the severe recession which the country suffered after the property bubble burst. The exit from the EU-IMF bailout programme provided an opportunity to look forward to the potential for future growth based on more solid economic foundations – and deploying Ireland’s ‘Natural Capital’ (and indeed Natural Capital News is the title of a new publication launched to coincide with the event).

In the view of Minister Bruton, Ireland’s economy is undergoing a transition into a sustainable, innovative, exporting economy, using the nation’s natural advantages. Ireland’s natural advantages include enormous offshore resources of renewable energy from wave, tidal and wind power. These have been the focus of attention in the past (and marine energy remains an important focus in cities such as Cork and Galway). However, the consensus today is that there is no need to tap expensive offshore resources until the potential for (much cheaper) onshore wind has been fully exploited.

According to Eddie O’Connor, CEO of Mainstream Renewable Energy and keynote speaker at the dinner at Farmleigh House (a former Guinness family residence which is now owned by the Irish Government), the evening before the Dublin Castle conference:

“There is no sense in <Ireland> building offshore. Maybe post 2020 – but for now the priority is low. In Ireland it costs €7-€7.5 cents per kw/hour to build onshore wind – but it costs between €12 and €14 cents to build offshore. And it’s much more difficult to build offshore so Mainstream won’t do it.”


The UK Smart Metering Programme: The Road to a Smart Grid? (Event Review)

First published on the Cleantech Investor website, November 2013

by Felicia Jackson

Cleantech Investor launched the ‘Building a Smart Future’ events series in October 2013 with a seminar, hosted by Andrew Bond, Partner at Smith & Williamson, to discuss the implications of the UK’s smart metering programme and its role in the development of the smart grid. The event followed the announcement from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), in September 2013, of its preferred bidders for the roll-out of the UK’s smart metering infrastructure. Speakers included Andrew Jones, Managing Director EMEA, S&C Electric; David Green, Director of Smart Metering and Grid Business Development, Arqiva; Nigel Hughes, Vice President, Sales Marketing & Deliveries, Energy, Northern Europe, Itron; Dave Holmes, Managing Director, QBC; Nick Butlin, Operations Director, Kiwi Power; and Martyn Thomas, Chair, IT Policy Panel, IET & Vice-President, Royal Academy of Engineering. The event was chaired by Felicia Jackson of Cleantech Investor.


Motor Racing: A climate change solution?

Automotive Cleantech - LAUNCH ISSUE First published in Automotive Cleantech - March 2013

Speaking at Cleantech Investor’s EV Club, Lord Paul Drayson, outlined the potential for Formula E to drive EV adoption and technology development.

Lord Paul Drayson believes that the car industry should use motor racing to promote electric vehicles (EVs) – and that it has been a mistake on the part of the industry to have avoided focusing on motor sport before now. However, he believes that Formula E is set to change that. His racing team, Drayson Racing, was the first team to commit to the FIA Formula E series and his company, Drayson Racing Technologies, is scientific advisor to Formula E. Drayson anticipates a real difference in the take-up of EVs after the first Formula E championship takes place in 2014.


Water Tech Investor Blind Date revealed:

The Investor Blind Date at the Water Tech Invest conference session organised by Isle Utilities and Cleantech Investor at Water Tech Invest on 14 February 2013 was revealed to be:

Rob Wylie - WHEB Partners



Water Tech Invest Utility Blind Date revealed

The Utility Blind Date at the Water Tech Invest conference session organised by Isle Utilities and Cleantech Investor at Water Tech Invest on 14 February 2013 was revealed to be:

Steve Kaye of Anglian Water


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