Technology, Energy and Innovation Under the Wing of a Solar Airplane

Roughly 350 participants gathered last night at Al Bateen airport in Abu Dhabi to discuss technology, innovation and the future of energy. Al Bateen is currently hosting the Solar Impulse airplane, which will soon embark on an around the world flight, powered only by the rays of the sun.

This unprecedented feat of technology and innovation set the stage, literally, for the night’s discussion; the event was held under the wings of the impressive plane.

Convened by the Financial Times and IRENA at the end of IRENA’s fifth annual Assembly, the FT Question Time Debate brought together key players in the energy industry to discuss the future of energy technology and innovation. Moderated by Pilita Clark of the Financial Times, the panel included:

  • André Borschberg CEO, Co-Founder and Pilot of Solar Impulse;
  • Jeremy Leggett, Chairman Solarcentury & SolarAid;
  • Michael Liebreich, Chairman of the Advisory Board of Bloomberg New Energy Finance;
  • Boris Schucht, Chief Executive of 50Hertz Transmission;
  • Claude Turmes, Member of the European Parliament.

The first question of the night, “Who believes the drop in oil prices will affect the up-take of renewable energy,” resulted in only 3 raised hands. By the end of the night, the question was reversed to “Does anyone think falling solar prices will threaten the oil industry?” This was met by resounding applause.

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