I'm just back from attending the 'All Energy' conference in Aberdeen. 'All Energy' is a massive gathering of energy industry professionals, themed around the development of renewable energy technology. It's grown hugely since I first attended in 2007, when it attracted perhaps a few thousand participants. Now almost 7000 people pack in to Aberdeen's exhibition hall for the event.
What was tangible in all the panel discussions and hallway chats among participants was the huge sense of challenge felt at the renewable energy targets our (UK) Government has set us to meet by 2020. The goal is for 15% of the UK's energy to be by renewables by then. At present, we haven't even reached 3%.
But there was no defeatism among this crowd - far from it. There was resolve to meet the challenge. Stallholders and speakers rallied to the challenge and unsurprisingly, offshore wind dominated discussions. It's the most commercially ready renewable energy technology, and will be the most cost effective in the short term.
What was interesting to me, as an RSPB representative, was to catch up on the latest commitments to monitor wind farms for their impacts on birds. I learned that radar equipment has been installed on an oil platform to monitor bird movements near the deep water Beatric turbines in the Moray Firth.
It is encouraging to hear of developers consulting early with nature conservation groups like the RSPB early in the process and setting up robust monitoring systems like these.