More than 300 delegates from the academic community, local and national industry, those at the forefront of policy-making, and the general public attended and actively participated in Energy Night 2011 which was held at NUI Galway last week.
NUIG Energy Night, an entirely student and postdoc organised event, brought together the chemistry, energy, and physics societies and it reflects the seriousness with which these enthusiastic and energetic students regard the future of energy supply and demand in Ireland.
The sponsors of the night were Enerit, Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI ), and the Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering, and Technology (IRCSET ).
The event began with a poster session which allowed more than 40 presenters to showcase some of the cutting edge energy research being undertaken at NUI Galway. Attendees had the opportunity to vote for their favourite posters and the top three bright sparks were: Mark White of the department of information technology, Darren Coppinger of the Ryan Institute, and David Fallon of the department of civil engineering.
A panel discussion then took place in a packed O’Flaherty Lecture Theatre. High profile panellists included SEAI CEO Professor J Owen Lewis; Siemens Ireland CEO, Paul Lynam; IBEC’s head of energy and environment policy, Dr Neil Walker; founder of NUI Galway’s Combustion Chemistry Centre Professor John Simmie; and nuclear energy expert Professor Philip Walton.
The discussion which was expertly moderated by RTÉ’s environment correspondent Paul Cunningham raised some interesting issues such as nuclear energy in Ireland, who should be making energy policy in Ireland, energy efficiency, and the viability and potential viability of new energy technologies. The well-informed audience, which included Senator Niall Ó Brolcháin as well as directors and executives of many of Ireland's major energy companies, asked questions and raised issues that challenged the panel and led to interesting debate.
For more information on the night, to see the winning posters, or to see the panellists’power point slides see the NUIG Energy Night website (http://sites.google.com/ site/nuigenergynight2011/ ).