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July 2, 2013

In Estonia, Tallinn Attracts Power Conferences

It's no secret that Central and Eastern Europe are rising hotspots for international meetings and events, but certain cities seem to be attracting certain industries. Recently, Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, has seen interest from two conferences focused on the power and heating industries: the recent International Oil Shale Symposium and the upcoming EHP Congress, which is scheduled to take place in 2015.

Over 400 energy specialists from around the world discussed the present and future outlooks of oil shale energy at the two-day International Oil Shale Symposium that took place earlier this month. Among others, leaders of the International Energy Agency and the World Energy Council took the floor.

The Oil Shale Symposium, which was held for the fourth time in Estonia, saw over 50 presentations from the likes of Didier Houssin, Director of Energy Markets and Security at the IEA, who addressed the future technologies for oil and gas on the global energy market; and Dr. Leonhard Birnbaum, Vice Chair Europe, WEC, who discussed global energy trends. Sustainability of oil shale energy were analyzed by macroeconomics expert Hardo Pajula.

According to the Minister of Economic Affairs and Communications, one of the main presenters at the symposium, Estonia is the leading oil shale developer in the world. “There are only two other countries that extensively use oil shale; however, the oil shale operated power station with the highest nominal power as well as a shale oil plant are in Estonia. At the same time, there are plenty of countries in the world whose oil shale reserves are much bigger than ours and for them too, this natural resource may become a cornerstone of energy security,” Minister Parts said. 

The objective for the Symposium, organised by Enefit, Tallinn University of Technology, University of Tartu and Colorado School of Mines, was to generate and boost international interest in the oil shale industry and to be the initiator of discussion and the builder of links amongst various interest groups in the development of this industry.

The first oil shale conference was held in Estonia in 1968. The last time Estonia hosted the International Oil Shale Symposium was in 2009, when the event was attended by 300 specialists in their respective fields from 24 countries. This year the symposium brought together 400 experts from 30 countries, including specialists from China, the United States, Brazil, Jordan, Russia, and Turkey. 

And looking ahead, Estonia has secured a bid to host a major energy conference, the 37th Euroheat & Power Congress, in April 2015.

The three-day event was developed through the Estonian Convention Bureau and the Estonian Power and Heat Association, and will be held in the Sokos Hotel Viru in central Tallinn. The conference is expected to involve over 250 participants. 

The association's chairman, Andres Veske, said that having a gathering of this magnitude take place in Estonia will be a boon to the local industry. “This congress is a well-known event in the energy field worldwide and will bring us news of the latest international developments. It will also give Estonia a fantastic opportunity to showcase its own energy sector and the country in general,” he said.

According to Kadri Karu, the Managing Director of the Estonian Convention Bureau, the event will look to “present as Estonia as a leader in this specific industry but also as a first-class destination for international scientific conferences.”  

Veske added that it is important for Estonian enterprises to participate in this event to gain international contacts and share information with the global industry. “In addition to congress itself, a Euroheat & Power international delegation will visit Estonian enterprises and representative organizations to get an overview of local developments,” Veske added. 

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