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Strathclyde students talk global energy in Paris

By Silvia Escudero - Posted on 27 February 2014

Silvia Escudero, a Global Energy Management student at Strathclyde Business School reflects on a recent busman’s holiday to Paris as part of an Energy Master Exchange Programme…

On Thursday, 6th February 2014, we were welcomed at Paris Dauphine University by the Director of the Master Energy, Finance, Carbon, Prof. Keppler. We were given the opportunity to socialise and establish contacts with 30 students from around the world who were interested in discussing the future challenges and opportunities of the energy sector.

The following day was strictly business and dedicated to high level presentations and discussions on Smart Grids with energy professionals from a number of key organisations including the French Regulatory Commission, the Distribution Network Agency ERDF and SIA Consultants. The fact that the presentations and discussions were led by professionals from different sectors including regulation, industry and academia, gave the audience a complete overview of the issues affecting the French energy sector. After the presentations we were given the chance to engage with the guest speakers with topics ranging from the effect of smart grids on supplier and consumer behaviour, through to how smart grids will improve the efficiency, reliability and sustainability of electricity production and distribution.

Then after the theory came a practical session. In the afternoon a guided tour of a waste to energy plant offered first-hand insights on how resource efficiency can be implemented on a local level. The students were introduced to the technology and regulatory framework of the plant which also supplies electricity and heat to the local community. The manager explained how the plant is run from the control room and highlighted the strict pollution control protocols that must be adhered to in the Paris metropolitan area. She also underlined that a future challenge for this type of technology will be to overcome the short range of the district heating pipelines, which was food for thought.

On Saturday the 8th, we took part in a worthwhile workshop looking at the French and UK energy markets. The goal of the session was to exchange ideas on how the energy transition to a more sustainable, affordable and secure energy supply can be achieved in Europe and at a global scale. In this respect the advantages of a tax on CO2 consumption over an emissions trading scheme or a CO2 production tax were elaborated. Also the essential role of storage technologies in solving supply problems through renewable power generation was discussed. Finally, the importance of international cooperation within the energy sector in order to achieve common goals and help in the transfer of knowledge and experience was emphasised by the workshop participants.

The networking opportunities and the level of information exchanged, both during speeches and discussions, were very enriching for anyone interested in the future of the energy sector. The mix of people and topics enabled us to see the energy sector from different perspectives and learn from knowledge and experience.

The Energy Master Exchange Programme is a great opportunity to strengthen the international prospects and opportunities for the Strathclyde GEM MSc students via the development of international partnerships. The constantly changing energy sector requires professionals with an international and interdisciplinary knowledge of the complex technical, economic, geopolitical and policy issues facing the global energy system. Exchanges such as this one give the students the opportunity to further develop their skills to manage the complex challenges and uncertainties that the energy sector will face in the future.

What’s your view on global networking? Do you have experience on international exchange programmes? Let us know in the comments below…



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