Onshore Wind Conference 2022 Speakers
ESG Manager, Ventient Energy
Holly Backhurst is the Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Manager for Ventient Energy, a renewable energy generator with assets in the UK, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Belgium and France. She is responsible for upholding the company’s ESG commitments and leading a future focused ESG strategy. Ventient Energy aim to be a positive force for both society and the environment, which is recognised in the company’s status as sector leaders and five-star rating in the GRESB Infrastructure Assessment.
Before joining Ventient Energy, Holly was a Senior Consultant at ITPEnergised where she helped companies in the energy and financial sectors to transition to net zero and develop their ESG strategies.
Strategic Project Director, Orkney Islands Council
David Hannon is Orkney Islands Council’s Strategic Projects Director. He is responsible for the development and implementation of several innovative renewable energy projects that aim to reduce costs and increase revenue for the Council and provide wider economic benefit for Orkney as a whole.
David has led the Council’s development of Orkney’s Community Wind Farm Project through the consenting and environmental assessment process, and is currently progressing the projects towards the construction phase. He has managed the project's CfD application, with the project successfully awarded contracts in the most recent auction.
David has worked in the energy sector for over ten years and has a broad knowledge of the sector, having transitioned from the oil and gas industry into renewables in 2017.
He has a degree in Mechanical Engineering and an MSc in Renewable Energy Engineering.
UK Development Director, Fred. Olsen Renewables
Finley Beck-Phelps brings almost a decade of experience to Fred. Olsen Renewables. As UK Development Director, Fin has led the company through a period of significant growth – building a team that is experienced, trustworthy and passionate about the role that renewables will play in a net zero future.
Fred. Olsen Renewables has been an integral part of Scotland’s renewable energy industry for over 20 years, generating over 500MW of onshore wind. Fin is taking the team on a journey which will place communities at its core, build on previous successes and bring forward a pipeline of projects, spanning different technologies, across the country.
Shared Ownership Manager, Energy Saving Trust/ Local Energy Scotland
I’m the shared ownership manager for Local Energy Scotland, employed by Energy Saving Trust (Edinburgh), based in Inverness. I provide impartial support via the Scottish Government’s Community and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES) to communities and stakeholders – ranging from community councils and renewable energy businesses to government - regarding community shared ownership opportunities in Scotland.
I’ve over 25 years’ experience in commercial community renewable energy development throughout Scotland and the UK. My experience ranges from community owned wind turbine development to community shared ownership and community benefit fund development in large onshore wind projects. This includes the successful completion of community shared ownership in Crossdykes wind farm, Dumfries and Galloway in 2022.
Jim Brown is the Director of ESP, a collaboration of Scotland’s colleges established in 2011 to provide the link between industry, government and its agencies whilst supporting colleges in the development and delivery of programmes to meet industry’s skills needs with a focus on Energy, Engineering, Construction, Emerging Technologies and STEM with a focus on the Just Transition to Net Zero.
He is a member of a wide range of government, industry and college sector groups and has been instrumental in establishing the group structures and training networks that underpin ESP.
An extensive skills career entering the college sector from industry before working with two Sector Skills Councils during which time he was also seconded into Scottish Government. He is the Skills Lead for the Scottish Offshore Wind Energy Council (SOWEC), a member of the OWIC Investment in Talent Group., the Energy Skills Alliance and represents the college sector on the Scottish Climate Emergency Skills Action Plan.
Onshore Wind Principal Development Manager, EDF Renewables
Suzanne joined EDF Renewables UK and Ireland in January 2022 as Principal Business Development Manager in our onshore wind team, having previously worked in offshore wind and across a number of different industries as an economic consultant.
At EDF Renewables, Suzanne’s focus is on building investment cases to take our onshore wind sites from consent to construction phase including being the Project Manager of Stranoch Windfarm. She has experience in both bidding and managing CfDs through to operation as well as involvement in alternative routes to market.
Suzanne’s role has an emphasis on the development of policy and regulation within the renewables industry and its impact on investment cases. She is actively involved with RenewableUK currently sitting on its aviation working group and she was previously a member of the RenewableUK Shadow Board, before her tenure expired in January 2022, as well as vice chair of the Market Design working group.
Suzanne graduated in Chemistry and Management from Imperial College London and is a ICAEW Chartered Accountant.
Head of Regulatory Affairs UK and Ireland, RWE Renewables
Nicola is Head of Regulatory Affairs for the UK and Ireland at RWE Renewables, and an industry thought leader and expert on GB grid matters. Nicola has responsibility for onshore and offshore renewables projects. She is currently appointed to several panels providing expert advice to BEIS and Ofgem on their grid reform workstreams. RWE is one of the world's leading renewable energy companies.
Head of Onshore Development: Wales & England, RWE Renewables
Eleri is Head of Onshore Development: Wales & England for RWE Renewables UK Ltd (RWE), one of the UK largest renewables generators. The company operates 34 UK onshore wind farms and is investing up to £15billion in new, UK clean energy infrastructure by 2030. A chartered Member of the Royal Town Planning Institute (MRTPI), Eleri has extensive public and private sector experience of major infrastructure projects, mainly in renewable energies. She leads a team of Project Managers, handling a portfolio of onshore wind and solar PV projects, from site identification to construction handover.
Director, Market Area Manager, UK & Ireland, DNV
Michael is DNV Energy System’s Business Director for Power Grids in UK & Ireland. He is a regulatory and strategy professional with over 20 years’ experience in different roles within multiple regulated utility industries.
Michael’s primary focus is on the commercial and strategic impacts of regulation, policy and market structures within the UK and European energy markets and networks. As Business Director for Power Grids in UK & Ireland, he is responsible for the strategic direction and growth of DNV’s activities across the sector.
Michael brings extensive experience in advising on the commercial impacts of regulatory and market changes from the operational to strategic levels. He has significant knowledge of industry governance structures, representing industry sectors on strategic industry groups, code governance panels and has advised several Governments on key reform programmes. Michael brings a networks and generation markets focus, with deep operational understanding of interactions between the networks, markets and Government support mechanisms for both renewable and conventional generation.
Head of Energy Consents Unit, The Scottish Government
Ruth leads the Energy Consents Unit that is responsible for processing applications for large scale onshore electricity generating stations and grid network infrastructure on behalf of the Scottish Ministers. Prior to joining the Scottish Government in 2018, Ruth worked in South Lanarkshire Council and North Lanarkshire Council. Ruth is a chartered member of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) with over 15 years’ experience of the complexities and challenges with the consenting process of renewable energy infrastructure projects.
Landscape Planning Director, Stephenson Halliday
Mary has 20 years’ experience as a landscape architect including key leadership roles. She has co-authored IEMA guidance relating to the integration of design and EIA, Landscape Institute (LI) guidance on the use of visualisations, has contributed to guidance regarding residential visual amenity assessment and has recently become a member of both the LI GLVIA Advisory Panel and the SR Onshore Wind Policy Group.
Mary specialises in providing landscape and visual impact assessments and is an experienced expert witness, having provided support to Inquiry witnesses from the earliest stages of her career and acted as an expert witness herself in relation to wind projects, residential development, roads and solar farms. Her LVIA work includes housing developments; solar farms; industrial and distribution sites; major infrastructure of varied types, tall buildings, substations and grid connections; approximately 200 wind projects; and some more unusual projects such as sculpture, cranes, car storage and flood defences. Her onshore wind work has included consents for major wind farms across the UK at both application and appeal.
Head of Onshore Projects, SSE Renewables
Derek Hastings is a Chartered Mechanical Engineer and a Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, with extensive experience in Project Development, Project Management, Engineering and General Management.
In January 2020, he moved over from SSE Enterprise to take on the leadership of all Onshore Renewable Projects in SSE Renewables. This wide-ranging role encompasses Wind projects – new and re-powering, Hydro and Pump Storage, and solar projects at scale. He covers the UK and overseas onshore areas, overseeing project development and delivery activities, including the current build projects at Gordonbush Windfarm Extension and the Viking Wind Energy Project in Shetland.
Over the years, Derek has worked in a wide variety of power sectors, including Wind, Hydro, Coal, CCGT, Biomass Conversion, Energy from Waste and CCS.
Head of Environmental Planning, ITPEnergised
Jenny leads the ITPEnergised Environmental Planning service, comprising a team of EIA practitioners, ecologists and geologists. Jenny has 21 years of experience in environmental consultancy, with her current focus largely on consenting and environmental assessment work for renewable energy developments. In addition to consenting and EIA co-ordination, Jenny has a technical background in geology and geotechnics, and she has led on geology, hydrology, hydrogeology and peat assessments for numerous energy sector projects.
Outside work, Jenny’s principal interest is playing the bagpipes. She is a piper with the Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band, recent winners of the 2022 World Championships.
Senior Director, Development & Operations UK & Ireland, Ørsted
TJ has over 20 years of energy industry experience, with the last 15 years focused on onshore renewables. TJ has held senior management roles in operations, commercial, development and investment as part of the core team that built the asset portfolio and development pipeline held by Ørsted in Ireland and the UK. From greenfield pipeline to end of life repowering, TJ oversees Ireland and the UK’s role pivotal role in Ørsted’s 17.5GW 2030 onshore goal.
Onshore Wind Policy Manager, The Scottish Government
Amy Keast is an Onshore Wind Policy Manager for the Scottish Government, with particular interest in repowering, recycling and circular economy. Despite having a degree in biology, she has worked in renewables for a number of years with previous roles in Ofgem before moving to the Scottish Government in 2019. Outside of work, Amy spends most of her time running around after her 1 year old, who has a penchant for chaos, and attempting to read through her mountain of unread books.
Head of Development Onshore Wind, Renewco Power Ltd
Over 20 years’ experience in delivery and consenting of energy related developments from both a legal and development perspective. Richard has worked in every jurisdiction in the UK and ROI over multiple generation technologies both on and offshore and has a detailed working knowledge of grid connection infrastructure at all voltage levels. Prior to leading the Onshore Wind team at Renewco Power while he was Head of Onshore Development for ScottishPower Renewables over c2GW was submitted and 1GW consented including 6 projects which recently were successful in the most recent CFD auction.
Advisory Lead - Onshore Wind, Natural Power
Since joining Natural Power in 2015, Neil has managed the delivery of Due Diligence reports for projects in the UK, Ireland, the Nordic region, Africa and South America, and contributed to projects in other markets including the USA. These projects have ranged from single turbine community projects, to a 600MW+ onshore wind project and a portfolio of nearly 1GW of installed solar PV. Neil has worked in renewables for over 12 year and his UK experience covers more than 1GW of projects at all stages of development. He has a degree in Physics and an MSc in Renewable Energy Engineering.
Chief Executive, RenewableUK
Dan McGrail took up his post of Chief Executive at RenewableUK in May 2021. Previously he was the CEO of Siemens Engines. He joined Siemens UK in 2004 and has worked in a variety of roles across the energy industry. Between 2010 and 2014 he led Siemens plans to develop and invest in offshore wind turbine manufacturing in the UK, securing the world-class offshore wind turbine blade factory and port facility in Hull, negotiating with the UK government and overseeing one of the company’s most significant factory investments in its recent history. The Final Investment Decision of £160m was announced in 2014, alongside a £150m investment by Associated British Ports to revitalise Hull’s Alexandra Dock. As Managing Director of Siemens Power Generation from 2014-2017, he expanded Siemens UK’s activities in the thermal power market. He became CEO of Siemens Engines in November 2017, leading the rebranding of the company and helping to secure significant growth.
Chief Executive, Scottish Renewables
Claire has been Chief Executive of Scottish Renewables, the representative voice of Scotland’s renewable energy industry, since October 2017. She is responsible for leading the organisation’s work to grow Scotland’s renewables sector and sustain its position at the forefront of the global clean energy industry.
Claire is a member of the First Minister’s Energy Advisory Board and is co-chair of the Renewable Energy Strategic Leadership Group. She is also co-chair of the Scottish Government Marine Energy Industry Group.
Claire is a member of SSEN’s Network for Net Zero Stakeholder Group and a member of the Centre for Work-Based Learning in Scotland Advisory Group.
Claire was awarded the University of Strathclyde’s STELAR award for executive leadership within the industry in 2021 and is also an honorary fellow of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society.
Before joining Scottish Renewables, Claire was Director of Policy and Place at the Scottish Council for Development and Industry. She has previously worked in various roles at Ofcom in Scotland, focusing on economic regulation of telecoms, radio spectrum and the mail market while also looking at developing digital participation of individuals and businesses.
Head of Business Planning and Performance, SSEN Transmission
Aileen McLeod is Director of Business Planning and Commercial at SSEN Transmission, the owner and operator of the north of Scotland electricity transmission system. Aileen has over 20 years’ experience in the utilities sector both as the regulator and regulated. Her current role focuses on enabling the transition to net zero emissions in the energy sector in a sustainable and just way.
Managing Director, ENERCON Services UK Ltd and Vice Chair, SafetyOn
Julian has worked in the onshore wind sector since 2006; initially leading up a start-up business focusing on the sub-MW onshore wind market. Julian led the successful sale and development of projects from scoping, through planning, development, construction and operation. Julian joined ENERCON in 2016 where he currently acts as the Managing Director for the O&M Service Company in Great Britain.
Julian holds a Post Graduate Certificate in Renewable Energy Technologies from CREST Loughborough University and sits on a number of committees and workgroups across the industry including: Vice Chair - SafetyOn Onshore Wind Safety Leadership Board; UK BSI PEL/088 Wind Turbine UK Shadow Committee Member; IEC 61400-28 Through Life Management & Life Extension of Wind Turbines – Operations Sub-Group Lead; UK rep Member IEC 61400-1 Wind Turbine MT1 Working Group. He was also the Inaugural Chairman of the RenewableUK Medium Wind Group and a Past Chairman of the RenewableUK Small & Medium Wind Strategy Group.
Màiri McAllan MSP
Minister for Environment and Land Reform
Màiri McAllan is a former lawyer and Special Adviser to the First Minister in Environment, Biodiversity and Land Reform and was elected to the Scottish Parliament in 2021 to represent the constituency of Clydesdale.
Ms McAllan grew up and was educated in the town of Biggar in South Lanarkshire, before studying Scots Law at the University of Glasgow and European law at the University of Ghent, Belgium.
Ms McAllan attended Glasgow University to gain her Diploma in Professional Legal Practice and, after qualifying as a Scots lawyer, specialised in energy and natural resources in a Glasgow, commercial firm.
Ms McAllan also cofounded the human rights organisation ‘Reblaw Scotland’.
Susana Neves e Brooks
Customer Connections Senior Manager, National Grid ESO
Susana has been the Head of Customer Connections since September 2021 where she leads a Team that manage all GB Electricity Transmission Connections to ensure that they can continually support the drive to Net Zero and BEIS UK Energy Security Strategy.
Susana has previously worked as leading manager in National Grid Electricity Transmission Construction Team, where she oversaw delivery of a variety of transmission infrastructure projects in London and South East and West of England. She has also previously worked in a DNO, on roles in Engineering Design and Project Management in Connections. Susana has formal training in Electrical Engineering, International Politics and Economics (obtained from studies in universities in Portugal and UK).
Her focus is now placed on delivering the Reform to Transmission Connections, as she recognises the challenges that we are seeing with the existing processes and transmission access. These challenges could represent a risk to her team’s ability to support the connection of the right level of renewable generation to enable the decarbonisation of the UK Energy System, however the goal is to act and ensure she delivers with support of industry the necessary change over the next 36months.
Senior Associate, Shepherd and Wedderburn
Emma Paton is a planning lawyer who specialises in renewable energy developments. At Shepherd and Wedderburn, Emma advises a range of clients across the UK on consenting processes, and deals with planning inquiries, appeals, planning agreements, and transactional work.
Emma has real practical experience from a number of perspectives on the challenges and opportunities presented in the sector. She previously spent a year and a half seconded in-house to a renewable energy developer, and has very recently returned from a six month secondment as Technical Manager at the Energy Consents Unit of the Scottish Government, where she advised on a range of live issues.
Director of Policy and Regulation, ScottishPower Renewables
Kate’s career in renewable energy spans over 20 years to her current role with SPR covering Government energy policy, grid regulation, aviation and planning/consenting affecting renewables onshore and offshore in the UK and Ireland. Kate is a board member of ScottishRenewables and Renewable UK and also holds key roles with the Wind Energy Ireland Council, RenewableNI Committee and the Scottish Government’s Renewable Energy Strategic Leadership Group.
Director of Policy, Scottish Renewables
Morag is Scottish Renewables’ Director of Policy. Her work involves overseeing Scottish Renewables’ policy function and key projects within Scotland’s leading renewables trade body, working on behalf of 290+ organisations to grow Scotland’s renewable energy sector and sustain its position at the forefront of the global clean energy industry.
Morag has worked in policy for nearly 20 years and was previously a Senior Policy Officer with WWF Scotland, specialising in climate change, sustainable development and behaviour change.
Director of Future Electricity Systems, RenewableUK
Barney leads RenewableUK’s thinking on the future of the electricity system as renewables become the mainstay of the UK’s generation. His work includes flexibility markets, energy storage, the role of EVs and the future of hydrogen.
Head of Communications UK&I, RES
Callum Whiteford is Head of Communications for RES in the UK & Ireland. RES is the world’s largest independent renewable energy company. In the UK, RES has developed and/or constructed more than 60 onshore wind farms totaling over 1GW.
Callum has worked in the onshore wind industry for the past ten years and is responsible for communications throughout the development, construction, and operational lives of RES’ renewable energy developments. An area of particular interest for Callum is vocalising the significant economic, environmental and social benefits associated with the onshore wind industry in the UK
Dr Rebecca Windermer
Lecturer in Environmental Planning & Design, UWE University
Rebecca is a senior lecturer in environmental planning at the University of the West of England where she leads undergraduate and postgraduate modules on renewable energy. Rebecca is a chartered town planner and her research focuses on the planning system for renewable energy and community experiences of living close to energy infrastructure. Rebecca's research on end-of-life decision making for UK wind farms won awards for innovative research and research impact. Rebecca is currently working on two research projects, one investigating experiences of onshore wind farm decommissioning across Europe and the other on the planning process for Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects.
Sponsors & Supporters
Links to sponsors' websites will open in a new browser tab.