The Base Glasgow event was focused at transforming Glasgow into a low carbon economy by inviting various high profile inspirational speakers from both the private and public sector. The event also allowed a selection of different sectors including construction, property, transport, energy and waste together with integrating and enabling activities - most notably applied information and communications, and new materials technologies, financial services and investment.
He mentioned the recent introduction of the Glasgow City Councils free parking for electric vehicles within particular sites around Glasgow and if successful the introduction of more in the future. This could kick start locals to take up electric vehicles mostly due to the lack of current spaces and price of parking within Glasgow city centre.
Gordon then went on to discuss making the Glasgow Commonwealth Games "the greenest games ever" following the London 2012 Olympic Games by introducing various measures within the city, however he didn't seem to touch on anything in particular, is also didn't really mention anything most of us didnt already know which was a little disappointing.
After Gordon Matheson left the stage it was time for a discussion regarding financing models and the need of a paradigm shift. The panel discussed different approaches in which the commercial rewards of de-carbonising the city can be realised. This topic was on of my least favourite topics, however Vivienne Cockburn from Scottish Futures Trust mentioned some interesting words about retrofitting LED's to Glasgow's extensive lighting system around the city and become part of a pilot scheme currently being deployed within various UK cities. This is a interesting idea, however i did hear various others discussing the costs of such an endeavour could be better invested in alternative schemes that could reduce Glasgow's carbon footprint more efficiently and faster.
Next up was Ken Livingston ex mayor of London. Ken was given a very warm welcome to the stage at Glasgow and provided some great banter for the delegates after the dry topic of finance.
Ken Livingston mentioned "cities need to be more self supporting in terms of energy use, currently 66% of energy is lost in transition, if we can power cities by locally produced renewable energy instead of laying long distances of cabling we can save a huge amounts of energy by cutting out long distance transitions".
He also discussed that waste should be a key priority for cities, Low emissions zones and improving existing housing stock to be more energy efficient.
He then went on to mention electric buses and that he had started the process of rolling out electric buses in London before Boris Johnson was elected as mayor which was quite amusing. He said went on to say "Scotland could be the leader on this" and that "new technologies are the key to a sustainable low carbon future". The global low carbon market is expected to hit £4 trillion by 2016, so businesses and cities with a green agenda will profit.
Ken mentioned some interesting points, taking the majority of his experience as being mayor of London and implementing their various techniques and ideas during his time into Glasgow at a smaller scale.
After the morning session we where given time to grab a drink and have wonder round the events stalls represented by various businesses show casing what they are actively doing to help reduce their environmental impact and carbon reduction schemes.
Shortly after the break we where given the choice to choose from 6 different breakout sessions, we both came to the decision to visit the Smart Cities session. See the attached PDF at the end of blog for a copy of the days program.
The smart cities session was held by Scottish Power and Glasgow City Council's Michael Burns. The beginning of the session was held by George Kirk director of Scottish Power and to be honest it wasn't at all what i expected, it had nothing to do with the topic of Smart Cities and only discussed Scottish Powers idea of generating more renewable energy for their customers which was rather disappointing.
Michael Burns then went on to discuss GCC's Sustainable Glasgow initiative and the progress that has currently been made since the Sustainable Glasgow report in 2010. Michael Burns mentioned the introduction of district heating and PV cells into Glasgow over the next 5 years in order to cut Glasgow's fuel poverty that is currently at 30%.
He also mentioned the GCC will be looking to investing external projects to attract investment in green projects for Glasgow.
I then visited the Transportation talk as i thought Glasgow has such potential for a new transportation structure and it would be interesting to hear some new ideas that could be implemented into Glasgow.
The transportation talk discussed how we could sustainably finance and operate a low carbon fleet of vehicles. Ewan Swaffield from Transport Scotland talked about the introduction electric vehicle charging points around Scotland, it was mentioned that the Scottish Government are looking to introduce 900 charging docks around Scotland by the end of next year, however the current cost of each dock is set to cost approximately £30,000. Is that enough charging docks around Scotland for people to take up electric vehicles, i don't think so, not by a long shot.
John Curtis from That Friday Feeling mentioned that "its the market that dictates what cars we drive not the government" he went on to say "cars will be here for a while no matter what, so we need to find a way to retrofit our existing vehicles". Interesting point but i think we are thinking much further into the future till we come up with a viable option of retro fit combustion engines.
Overall i found the event very interesting, some really captivating speakers in attendance with some great ideas, the question is will they deliver? We will find out next year.