GLASGOW is expected to get a £4.6 million boost to its economy as what organisers claim is the UK's biggest renewable energy conference opens in the city today.


All-Energy 2015 is one of the largest conferences being held in the city this year and will attract around 7,000 delegates from all over the world.

The two-day event at the SECC will feature conference sessions and trade exhibitions covering areas ranging from offshore wind power to developing sustainable cities.

There will be 450 exhibiting companies from 20 countries while there is a programme featuring 440 speakers across today and tomorrow during debates, discussions and knowledge-sharing sessions.

The event, with The Herald as a media partner, has been held in Aberdeen from its launch in 2001 until now.

Organisers said the cost of accommodation in Aberdeen had been a factor in the decision to move the event, though giving exhibitors the opportunity to meet new people was also cited as a factor.

The decision also reflected on Glasgow's standing as a centre for research and development in the fields of energy and engineering.

But north east MSP Lewis Macdonald believes it could be back in Aberdeen within a few years, thanks to current hotel projects and a major new venue in the city.

The All-Energy 2015 website refers to "significant cost savings", including access to "reduced rate" transport options and a "plethora of affordable nearby hotels", with 1,500 rooms secured at reduced rates specifically for the show.

It also talks of "convenient discounted travel" on Virgin train and Citylink bus services to Glasgow, 20 direct trains daily from London and 16 from Aberdeen and more than 30 daily flights from London.

Councillor Gordon Matheson, leader of Glasgow City Council and chairman of Glasgow City Marketing Bureau, said: "As the UK's first green super-city, Glasgow is the perfect home for renewable energy and sustainability conferences like All-Energy Conference and Exhibition.

"With approximately 7,000 delegates travelling from global destinations to attend this prestigious energy meeting, we anticipate local hotels, restaurants and other businesses will benefit from a significant and welcome financial boost.

"Hosting conferences like All-Energy is why Glasgow is not only Europe's premier conference destination but a world-class, innovative and forward thinking city."

Organisers Reed Exhibitions say this year's event is physically larger than last year's in Aberdeen and there was hope for more growth in future years.

"All the component parts are in place, and all that remains is to welcome visitors and exhibitors to what promises to be a fantastic two days," said event director, Jonathan Heastie of Reed Exhibitions.

"An interesting measure of interest in the event, which is free to attend for all with a business/professional interest in renewable energy, business energy efficiency and the development of sustainable cities, is that already over 2,500 people have downloaded the All-Energy 'Plan your Day' App, the first App we have produced for the show.

"All that remains is to welcome exhibitors, visitors, speakers and journalists to our first Glasgow-based event and to thank all in Glasgow who have made us feel so very welcome, and wish everyone a highly successful, enjoyable and stimulating time with us."

Business and energy minister Fergus Ewing will give a keynote address today and prominent energy industry figures such as Ian Marchant, the former chief executive of SSE who chairs the Infinis renewable energy business, will speak.

More conference time than ever before is being devoted to presentations on the grid, energy systems and energy storage - well over 12 hours.

Some 6,875 people attended the 2014 show in Aberdeen, down from 7,687 the year before and more than 8,000 in 2012.

The event started last night at 6pm at the Glasgow Science Centre when the Herald and Sunday Herald columnist Iain Macwhirter chaired Powering The Future, a question and answer session on energy with a panel that included Peter McGregor, director of the International Public Policy Institute and the University of Strathclyde; Gordon Ballard, chairman of one of the world's largest oilfield services company Schlumberger UK Ltd and Ken Cronin, chief executive of the representative body United Kingdom Onshore Oil and Gas.