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Conference calls for improved business and training collaboration

Rajendra Shende of the United Nations Energy Programme has called for improved partnerships between industry and academic sectors to drive renewable technologies

Speaking at European Conference on The Latest Technologies in Renewable Energy, Heating and Cooling Applications he warned that there is not enough time to wait for new policy as a driver for taking action against climate change and urged local initiatives to create their own grassroots-type summit by strengthening collaborative, cross-sector partnerships between business and academia.

Some panelists at a session held at at the campus of Heriot-Watt University fear that the renewables industry will struggle to gather enough speed if the drastic shortage in trained installers and technicians is not addressed soon.

Graeme Fox, President of the Air Conditioning and Refrigeration European Association, AREA, says: “There are installers out there who are lacking some basic training. They are perfectly capable of installing the equipment but we need to raise their standards and get them certified.”

“The rapid growth in the adoption of heat pumps has brought numerous problems, reports say that poor maintenance, poor installation or badly applied systems are clearly to blame for the poor performance of some equipment”, he also added, “training providers such as the European Energy Centre are what we need”.

Paolo Buoni who is director of the European Energy Centre EEC, which provides training to renewable energy companies, says: “Advancing technology is offering huge potentials in renewable energy – but we have to face the fact that there is a shortage of technicians.

“We have a bank of experienced trainers who want to share their knowledge, however more investment in training is required from the government”.

Dr Shende admitted that more financial support is needed for this to happen, “Whilst I think that change needs to come from business and academic partnerships, the whole industry still needs a lot of help in the form of tax rebates, tax holidays and other incentives to make it a reality. This, in turn, would benefit the local economy as well as the planet.”

Dr Shende also referred to the recent bail out by governments of commercial banks around the globe and asked what would happen if governments did the same for the renewable industry to help it grow.

“Whilst it’s unlikely that we see an answer to that question in the near future – what was clear from the European gathering in Scotland was that, the spirit of innovation is in no short supply and the determination to achieve a low carbon economy will not be quelled.”

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