Renewable Energy Events Recap: January 2024

Beatrice Crespi shares her insights and lessons learned from the most recent industry events in Scotland.

February 1, 2024

In this blog, I'm excited to share my thoughts and key takeaways from my first two events since stepping into my new role as a consultant specialising in hydrogen. It has been a hectic start to the year for me, and these Scotland-based events have provided an excellent opportunity for me to immerse myself in the hydrogen and the renewables industries, allowing me to gain first-hand insights into the latest trends, challenges, and opportunities within this exciting sector.

In the piece below, I’ll highlight insights and lessons learned from the Scottish Energy Forum’s 'The Potential for Scotland to Become a Green Hydrogen Exporter' event, as well as the Offshore Wind Conference that took place in Glasgow; and how they have helped shape my approach and network in this dynamic sector. While the offshore wind event isn't directly related to my field, it's important for me to broaden my perspectives in complementary sectors, and I found value in attending.

Scottish Energy Forum’s ‘The potential for Scotland to become a green hydrogen exporter’.
three people posing in front of a building
Andrew Pretswell, Beatrice Crespi and Bryce Robertson at the Royal Scots Club

To kick 2024 off, I had the pleasure of attending the Scottish Energy Forum’s event at the stately Royal Scots Club in Edinburgh, nestled in the heart of the New Town. As someone new to the hydrogen industry, the experience was excellent and great way to kick off networking. The event offered a deeper dive into Scotland's ambitious green energy future and allowed me to hear from industry experts in person and I was joined by my colleagues Andrew Pretswell and Bryce Robertson on the night.  

The venue had a welcoming atmosphere, setting the stage for an evening of insightful discussions and insights. The seminar began with the Scottish Energy Forum setting the tone for the evening's discourse, led by Angela Mathis which was warmly received by the room.

For me, the highlight of the evening was the Scottish Energy Forum's annual James Watt Lecture, which illuminated Scotland's vast potential in onshore and offshore renewable resources. The country's goal to become a net exporter of green energy by 2045 suddenly seemed very plausible as the finer details were laid out, the detailed presentation offered the guests a fascinating glimpse into a sustainable future. One valuable insight that still resonates with me is that Scotland has the genuine potential to become a major player in green hydrogen production and emerge as its leading exporter.  

A key focus of this lecture was the Hydrogen Backbone Link (HBL) project, funded by the Scottish government, poised to revolutionise the transportation of hydrogen, making it cost-effective and supporting the transition to a low-carbon energy system. The Net Zero Technology Centre's recent award of £200,000 from the Scottish Government for research on hydrogen export to Germany further underscored the strategic importance of Scotland in the global energy landscape.

The speakers were a mix of seasoned experts who painted a clear picture of Scotland's green hydrogen potential. Martyn Tulloch from NZTC shared insights into Energy Hubs and the H2 Backbone, while Gunther Newcombe from NewByrne Consultants talked about repurposing oil and gas infrastructure in the Shetland, Orkney, and Western Isles to harness green hydrogen. Finally, Dr. Alexandra Stein of the Scottish Government's European Hydrogen Envoy, elaborated on the government's efforts to turn green hydrogen into a significant export opportunity, emphasising how Germany, currently a key player in hydrogen in Europe, would be keen to form a strategic partnership buying Scottish green hydrogen. As the evening wound down with a lively drinks reception, the conversations flowed freely, and our team had the opportunity to mingle with other energy experts.  

For someone starting their career in recruitment and the hydrogen industry, this event was an invaluable one that laid out some of the challenges and opportunities ahead. Scotland is not just dreaming big, also taking real steps towards a greener, more sustainable future. This was the first event I have attended but it is clear to me that the Scottish Energy Forum have a vested interest in the development of Scotland and its energy network, both at home and internationally. The calibre of this event is just one of the reasons WeConnect Energy is excited to attend the 45th Scottish Energy Forum Annual Dinner this February, joining the 750+ energy professionals who are working towards a brighter future for Scotland.

Offshore Wind Conference 2024

The next event I had the pleasure of attending was the Offshore Wind Conference, which took place in Glasgow at the end of January. Unfortunately, due to the heavy traffic in Glasgow, we didn’t make it on time to hear the Ministerial Address by Humza Yousaf MSP, First Minister of Scotland, but we did make up for it by sitting in on the other sessions of the day. I was joined in this session by my colleagues Dan Brook, Heather McCreadie and WeConnect Energy’s CEO, Richard Madden. Below is my summary of the sessions:

a group of people posing and smiling
Beatrice Crespi, Dan Brook, Heather McCreadie, Richard Madden and Steve Shameral at the Offshore Wind Conference 2024

Session 1: Practising What We Preach - Collaboration in Action

  • Takeaway: Kate Wallace Lockhart and other speakers showcased successful examples of collaboration in the offshore wind sector, revealing how partnerships across businesses and communities drive innovation and efficiency. The session underscored the value of teamwork in overcoming industry challenges and unlocking new opportunities for growth.

Keynote: Port Esbjerg, Denmark by Jesper Bank

  • Takeaway: Jesper Bank provided an interesting overview of Port Esbjerg's transformation from a fishing hub to a dynamic offshore wind energy center, illustrating the potential for ports to evolve and support the renewable energy transition effectively.

Session 2: Money Talks - Unlocking Investment in Infrastructure

  • Takeaway: Speakers like Joanne Allday and Egan Archer discussed the changing landscape of renewable energy investment and strategies to secure necessary funding for infrastructure development, emphasising the critical role of timely and targeted investment in achieving Scotland's offshore wind ambitions.

Session 3: Supplier Showcase - Succeeding in the Sector

  • Takeaway: This session highlighted the ingenuity and resilience of Scottish supply chain companies, with speakers like Ian Milne and Anne Haase sharing insights into market solutions, lessons learned, and future ambitions, providing valuable tips for businesses looking to thrive in the offshore wind sector.

Session 4: The Offshore Wind Orderbook - Project Updates

  • Takeaway: The final session offered a detailed look at upcoming offshore wind projects, with Pamela Till and Sioban Butler among the speakers providing updates on current projects and future procurement plans, giving attendees a clear view of short-term opportunities in the Scottish offshore wind supply chain.

As you can see, it's been a busy yet exciting start to the year. You can learn more about what we're up to in our sector on our new page here, and we've got more updates on the way as the team and I plan to release more content throughout the year. Our mission is simple, we are here to match our clients to the talent and skills they require to unlock organisational growth. If you're in the low carbon or renewables area and looking for support with your projects or initiatives, I'm here to help, please send me an email at: or connect with me on LinkedIn.

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