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Liverpool will host three-week International Festival for Business 2016



The International Festival for Business 2016 (IFB2016) will showcase the UK’s leadership in green technology, shale exploration, nuclear power and offshore wind technology. The three-week festival will include leadership events, conferences and one-to-one appointments with suppliers, buyers and investors, export and investment opportunities.

IFB2016 is expected to attract more than 30,000 delegates from the UK and overseas, it will be a buzzing marketplace for companies to create connections and do deals. The festival takes place in Liverpool over three themed weeks from 13 June to 1 July.

The second week of the festival will see UK Business Secretary Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP address the Federation of Small Business at an event, with international opportunities for small businesses in the Northern Powerhouse at the heart of its agenda.

Ian McCarthy, Festival Director of IFB2016, said: “For Energy & Environment week at IFB2016 we have brought together an exceptional series of events that both showcase UK capability, expertise and leadership and open up a wide range of investment and trade opportunities for both UK and overseas companies.

“The Festival will be a platform to highlight the UK shale industry, bring together leaders in biofuels and demonstrate how renewable technologies will shape tomorrow’s energy production. The richness and range of events, under one roof and over a few days makes this the must visit energy sector event of 2016.

“The UK Government’s support for IFB2016 is demonstrated by the scale and quality of the UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) events programme, providing the opportunity for business to investigate how to work with the UK government in both international technology transfer and investment in UK energy infrastructure.”

The festival in former European Capital of Culture, Liverpool, at the Exhibition Centre, a state-of-the-art event complex on the city’s iconic waterfront. There will be a rich and varied cultural programme for delegates to enjoy and in addition to the events outlined below, there is a day programme of ‘Blue Skies’ activity that takes in informal talks from global figures, business leaders and innovative thinkers.

The programme for Energy and Environment week at IFB2016 highlights global advances across the industries that will shape energy production in the future. The festival includes a week of international leadership events, including:

Federation of Small Businesses: From Northern Powerhouse to Global Markets (20th June) – Small firms aiming to use the Northern Powerhouse’s international profile to boost their export sales will hear from keynote speaker UK Business Secretary Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP and other business leaders 

Energy 2016: Risk, Resilience and Cyber Security of Global Supplies (21st June) – Speakers from the US Department of Homeland Security, European Commission, UK Power Networks and National Grid will address changes in the global energy mix, bring international perspectives on security and resilience in infrastructure. In addition, energy gaps, new infrastructures, technological innovation and incentives for investment will be considered.

OLEOFUELS 2016 (21st-22nd June) – A two-day conference that will bring together the leading executives and experts from across the UK and EU to debate the future of fuels made from oils & fats including biodiesel. The event includes a site visit to the ReFuel Energy plant in Knowsley. Key speakers include Javier Vila od Petrofac, Stephen Leisner of Bio Oil Group, Ralf Scmidt of Bioeton Deutschland and Nuno Correia of Prio Energy

International Circular Economy, Resource Efficiency and Eco-Innovation (22nd June) – An innovation event covering technology developments in eco-innovation, low carbon and energy efficiency

International Shale Conference 2016 (22nd-24th June) – the UK’s definitive guide to the potential of oil and gas shale within the UK

UKTI will be showcasing the Government’s support and investment in UK energy opportunities to both invest in the UK and for UK companies to export technology globally. These events will cover the following areas:

2017 and beyond – Energy Industry Challenges & Solutions (20th June) – The event will also look at how technologies and the future demands on them will contribute towards global carbon reduction targets in the next 30 years. Speakers include Philip New (Chief Executive – Energy Systems Catapult)

Oil & Gas: Connecting the UK’s Capabilities to the World (21st June) – An event including interactive discussions with leading experts and senior business executives. It will provide a unique networking opportunity for both regional and international oil and gas communities. Speakers include Jon Fredrik Muller of Rystad Energy

Green Finance: Changing the Colour of Money (22nd June) – This roundtable event will bring together UK and international investors, industry practitioners and senior policy makers to increase momentum in both the UK’s green finance offering

From Innovation to Industrialisation: How UK Renewables are Delivering Global Carbon Reduction (23rd June) – Influential players from the renewable energy industry will discuss current and future ambitions for implementing the renewable technologies that will contribute to global carbon reduction targets.

Selling your Products and Services to Global Aid Organisations (25th June) – Delegates will hear from, and have the chance to have 1-2-1 meetings with, UKTI specialists from Washington, New York, Geneva, Brussels, Manila and Abidjan.

In addition to the events focused on the energy and environment sectors, IFB2016 offers services through the free membership of the IFB2016 Business Club. They include inspiring talks from leaders in the fields of business, innovation and technology as well as:

“Meet Your Future Deal” – one-to-one appointments with suppliers, buyers and investors, export and investment opportunities.

“Meet the Specialist Advisor” a range of free international business services including legal, financial and marketing advice.

World-renowned events – including Wireless Global Gongress, TEDx, Accelerate 2016 and the Horasis Global Meeting.

Delivered by Liverpool Vision in partnership with UK Trade & Investment, the Great Britain Campaign, IFB2016 will feature the Great British Showcase – an exhibition of UK innovation, technology, design and creativity – the Exporting is Great Export Hub, and a changing, interactive display of UK industry sectors and inward-investment opportunities.

IFB2016 will highlight the UK as the go-to place to do business and will build on the success of IFB2014, which attracted companies from 92 countries and facilitated export and investment deals worth over £280 million.

Attending the festival is free, but to get involved with the many and varied aspects of the festival, delegates must register for the IFB2016 Business Club here.

Membership of the IFB2016 Business Club will give representatives and visitors access to free advice from specialists in legal, accounting, translation, regulation and exporting. In addition, there is a digital matching service that will arrange meetings from delegations looking to do deals. Finally, all the details of the attendees at events that a visitor registers for thorough the IFB2016 Business Club will be available.


Are the UK Governments Plans for the Energy Sector Smart?



The revolution in the energy sector marches on, wind turbines and solar panels are harnessing more renewable energy than ever before – so where is it all leading?

The UK government have recently announced plans to modernise the way we produce, store and use electricity. And, if realised, the plans could be just the thing to bring the energy sector in line with 21st century technology and ideologies.

Central to the plans is an initiative that will see smart meters installed in homes and businesses the length and breadth of the country – and their aim? To create an environment where electricity can be managed more efficiently.

The news has prompted some speculation about how energy suppliers will react and many are predicting a price war. This could benefit consumers of electricity and investors, many of whom may be looking to make a profit by trading energy company shares online using platforms such as Oanda – but the potential for good news doesn’t end there.

Introducing New Technology

The plan, titled Smart Systems and Flexibility is being rolled out in the hope that it will have a positive impact in three core areas.

  • To offer consumers greater control by making smart meters available for all homes and businesses by 2020. Energy users will be able to monitor, control and record the amount of energy they use.
  • Incentivise energy suppliers to change the manner in which they buy electricity, to offer more smart tariffs and more off-peak periods for energy consumption.
  • Introduce new standards for electrical appliances – it is hoped that the new wave of appliances will recognise when electricity is at its cheapest and at its most expensive and respond accordingly.

How the Plans Will Affect Solar Energy

Around 7 million houses in the UK have solar panels and the government say that their plan will benefit them as they will be able to store electricity on batteries. The stored energy can then be used by the household and excess energy can be exported to the national grid – in this instance lower tariffs or even payment for the excess energy will bring down annual costs significantly.

The rate of return on energy exported to the national grid is currently between 6% and 10%, but there are many variables to take into account, such as, the cost of battery storage and light levels. Still, those with state-of-the-art solar electricity systems could end up with an annual profit after selling their excess energy.

The Internet of Things

Much of what the plans set out to achieve are linked to the now ubiquitous “internet of things” – where, for example, appliances and heating systems are connected to the internet in order to make them function more smartly.

Companies like Hive have already made great inroads into this type of technology, but the road that the government plans are heading down, will, potentially, go much further -blockchain technology looms and has already proved to be a game changer in the world of currency.

Blockchain Technology

It has already been suggested that the peer to peer selling of energy and exporting it to the national grid may eventually be done using blockchain technology.

“The blockchain is an incorruptible digital ledger of economic transactions that can be programmed to record not just financial transactions but virtually everything of value.”

Don and Alex Tapscott, Blockchain Revolution (2016)

The upshot of the government’s plans for the revolution of the energy sector, is that technology will play an indelible role in making it more efficient, more flexible and ultimately more sustainable.

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4 Case Studies on the Benefits of Solar Energy




Demand for solar energy is growing at a surprising rate. New figures from SolarPower Europe show that solar energy production has risen 50% since the summer of 2016.

However, many people are still skeptical of the benefits of solar energy.Does it actually make a significant reduction in our carbon footprint? Is it actually cost-effective for the company over the long-run?

A number of case studies have been conducted, which indicate solar energy can be enormously beneficial. Here are some of the most compelling studies on the subject.

1.     Boulder Nissan

When you think of companies that leverage solar power, car dealerships probably aren’t the first ones that come to mind. However, Boulder Nissan is highly committed to promoting green energy. They worked with Independent Power Systems to setup a number of solar cells. Here were the results:

  • Boulder Nissan has reduced coal generated electricity by 65%.
  • They are on track to run on 100% renewable energy within the next 13 years.
  • Boulder Nissan reduced CO2 emissions by 416,000 lbs. within the first year after installing their solar panels.

This is one of the most impressive solar energy case studies a small business has published in recent years. It shows that even small companies in rural communities can make a major difference by adapting solar energy.

2.     Valley Electric Association

In 2015, the Valley Electric Association (VEA) created an 80-acre solar garden. Before retiring from the legislature, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid praised the new project as a way to make the state more energy dependent and reduce our carbon footprint.

“This facility will provide its customers with the opportunity to purchase 100 percent of their electricity from clean energy produced in Nevada,” Reid told reporters with the Pahrump Valley Times. “That’s a step forward for the Silver State, but it also proves that utilities can work with customers to provide clean renewable energy that they demand.”

The solar energy that VEA produced was drastically higher than anyone would have predicted. SolarWorld estimates that the solar garden created 32,680,000 kwh every year, which was enough to power nearly 4,000 homes.

This was a major undertaking for a purple state, which may inspire their peers throughout the Midwest to develop solar gardens of their own. It will reduce dependency on the electric grid, which is a problem for many remote states in the central part of the country.

3.     Las Vegas Casinos

A number of Las Vegas casinos have started investing in solar panels over the last couple of years. The Guardian reports that many of these casinos have cut costs considerably. Some of them are even selling the energy back to the grid.

“It’s no accident that we put the array on top of a conference center. This is good business for us,” Cindy Ortega, chief sustainability officer at MGM Resorts told Guardian reporters. “We are looking at leaving the power system, and one of the reasons for that is we can procure more renewable energy on the open market.”

There have been many benefits for casinos using solar energy. They are some of the most energy-intensive institutions in the world, so this has helped them become much more cost-effective. It also helps minimize disruptions to their customers learning online keno strategies in the event of any problems with the electric grid.

4.     Boston College

Boston College has been committed to many green initiatives over the years. A group of researchers experimented with solar cells on different parts of the campus to see where they could produce the most electricity. They discovered that the best locationwas at St. Clement’sHall. The solar cells there dramatically. It would also reduce CO2 emissions by 521,702 lbs. a year and be enough to save 10,869 trees.

Boston College is exploring new ways to expand their usage of solar cells. They may be able to invest in more effective solar panels that can generate far more solar energy.

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