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Interview: "It’s all about know-how transfer"

In the world-wide competition for knowledge destinations are positioning themselves as hubs for key problems of the future. For Basel energy is such a topic. What made you choose it?
Basel has had a strong focus on energy for a long time and wanted to manifest this political stance on an international scale, too. It’s all about know-how transfer, which works very well in a pocket-sized metropolis like this.

Why does Congress Center Basel have a seat in the foundation that organises Global Energy Basel (GEB)?
Our organisation, MCH Group, indirectly has a seat on the board of the Global Energy Basel Foundation with one staff member (ad personam). As one of the largest organisers of fairs and conventions in Switzerland, it is increasingly important to see oneself as an instrument of business development. We therefore commit more strongly to the most important topics of the cities we work in than we would do as a pure organiser or lessor. For example, this also applies to the life sciences industry, Cleantec etc.

Why is GEB important for your city and convention centre?
By positioning Global Energy Basel the city can compete internationally in one of its most important fields and hone and share its knowledge. If a city is good in one field it will attract talent and economic drivers; in particular energy-themed beacon events manifest the city’s self-image both inwardly and outwardly. For the convention centre the impacts include both annually recurring occupancy – which will require investments over the first few years – and its positioning. With one of the largest solar plants and the newly added Minergie-standard exhibition halls, it is in our interests as a business not to take a back seat on energy-related issues. We also believe that we can use the expertise of GEB in the near future for our fair products.

Which other energy-focused European cities are you competing with?
Bilbao, London, Stuttgart, Munich, we could keep adding to this list, the topic is number one for business, society and politics and will remain so for a long time to come.

Do you believe that the need for conferences and events in the energy sector will rise?
100 percent peak oil – the mark from which the consumed amount will exceed the amount that can still be extracted  – has already or nearly been reached according to some theories. From this moment on humankind will have to get used to an age without fossil energy resources. This will require a lot of innovation, investments, politics – a breeding ground for our industry.

www.congress.ch, http://globalenergybasel.com

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