Onshore Wind Conference 2023 Speakers
Neil Gray MSP
Cabinet Secretary for Wellbeing Economy, Fair Work and Energy
Neil Gray was appointed as Cabinet Secretary for Wellbeing Economy, Fair Work and Energy in March 2023.
Neil Gray was born and brought up in Orkney and was educated at Kirkwall Grammar School. He graduated from the University of Stirling in 2008 with a first-class Bachelor of Arts Honours degree in politics and journalism.
He was elected to represent Airdrie and Shotts Constituency at the 2021 Scottish Parliament election.
He had previously won the Airdrie and Shotts Westminster seat in 2015 and held it on two subsequent occasions before resigning to stand for the same area in the 2021 Scottish Parliament election. Prior to becoming an MP, Mr Gray worked for former Scottish Government Health Secretary Alex Neil MSP as his Airdrie and Shotts constituency office manager.
Neil Gray was appointed Minister for Culture, Europe and International Development in January 2022. In March 2022 he additionally became Minister with special responsibility for Refugees from Ukraine.
Head of Onshore Development – Scotland, RWE
Vickie is the Head of Onshore Renewables- Scotland for RWE with nearly 20 years’ experience in the renewables industry with a strong track record of delivery of utility scale renewable projects despite significant commercial, developmental and political challenges. Vickie currently manages RWEs onshore development team in Scotland, with a growing circa 2GW development pipeline of projects, spanning all stages of development. With 2 projects currently in construction, many in the planning system and numerous MW in consideration, Vickie’s knowledge spans wide. Over 50% of RWEs onshore wind pipeline in the UK has a community shared ownership offering. By the end of 2022, onshore and offshore wind farm projects operated by RWE across the UK has invested £33m into local communities, a number set to increase significantly as we deliver our extensive pipeline.
UK Development Director, Fred. Olsen Renewables
Finley Becks-Phelps has been UK Development Director at Fred. Olsen Renewables for almost three years. Utilising his decade of experience in renewables, Fin has built a team that is pursuing an extensive pipeline of more than 1GW in Scotland alone.
Fin currently serves as a board member of Scottish Renewables, helping to guide the organisation as it works to grow Scotland’s renewable energy sector and sustain its position at the forefront of the global clean energy industry.
As one of the longest standing renewable energy developers in Scotland, Fred. Olsen Renewables has a portfolio in the UK that consists of 258 operational turbines, alongside a further 76 consented. Fin is leading the team on a journey that places collaboration with communities, committing to local businesses and contributing towards Scotland’s sustainable future at its core.
Development Director – Wind, RES
John is the Development Director for RES’ onshore wind business in the UK & Ireland. He has 20 years’ experience in the development and delivery of large infrastructure project with 15 of those years in the renewables industry. Initially working in construction delivery building out multiple onshore wind projects across the UK, Ireland and Scandanavia. He then moved to head up RES’ development team in Ireland before more recently widening that role to cover the full UK and Ireland geography where he manages a large portfolio of onshore wind projects from inception to financial close.
Country Manager UK & Ireland, EDP Renewables
Carmen has +10 years of experience, mainly in RES (hydro, solar and onshore wind projects). She holds a degree plus a MSc in Civil Engineering with a specialisation in Energy from the Technical University of Madrid, and an Executive Master in Business Administration (EMBA) from IE Business School, where she ranked #1 of her class.
Before joining EDPR, she worked for several renewable energy and infrastructure companies as business developer and contract manager in France, Norway and Spain. She joined the International Business Development department of EDPR in 2020, providing support to the EU&LATAM region. She’s now leading the UK&Ireland Business Unit as Country Manager.
Managing Director Onshore UK & Ireland / Industry Lead (Sector Deal), ScottishPower Renewables
Barry was recently appointed Managing Director for Onshore Renewables across the UK & Ireland at SPR. The move follows his leadership of ScottishPower’s activities in hydrogen across the UK and Ireland, as part of a global Hydrogen Division within the Iberdrola Group. His previous roles include Head of Corporate Innovation, Sustainability and Quality which led strategic activities in the decarbonisation of transport, heat and other emerging technologies, as well as corporate initiatives aligned with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This followed several years in ScottishPower Renewables where Barry led activities in marine energy and wind innovations across the sector.
Head of Environment and Net Zero, The Scottish Government
Cara has 20 years planning experience, specialising in environmental and energy planning policy, regulation, and Environmental Assessment within the Scottish Government. Alongside supporting delivery of NPF4 energy, climate, and environmental policies, Cara’s current role includes overseeing the Scottish Government’s Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) team. Previous roles within Scottish Government include Head of Development Management, with responsibility for national planning procedures, legislation, guidance, and practice. Cara began her planning career as EIA and HRA policy manager, and has a degree in Environmental Archaeology from the University of Edinburgh.
Head of Aviation
Alex leads RenewableUK's onshore and offshore aviation policy, covering radar mitigation, lighting and marking, airspace modernisation and the Eskdalemuir zone. He is also the OWIC Aviation Task Force delivery manager and holds a pilot's licence.
Onshore Renewables Development and Construction Director, SSE Renewables
A member of SSE Renewables leadership team, Heather has responsibility for SSE Renewables onshore development and construction portfolio for UK and Ireland. Heather is a Chartered Town Planner who has been working in development and consenting roles for over 20 years in both the public and private sectors and in the renewables industry since 2009. Since joining SSER in 2018 Heather has led the consents teams on both Seagreen and Berwick Bank offshore wind farm projects and been Head of Project Consents for the Renewables business before taking on her current role which includes overseeing an active construction programme as well as leading the development and project delivery teams. Heather has been at the forefront of renewable project development throughout her career, driving forward some of Scotland’s most significant renewables projects.
Director, BVG Associates
Neil has worked in the wind energy industry since graduating and has been fascinated to witness the technical, political, social, and commercial evolution of the sector for nearly 30 years.
He joined the management team of BVG Associates as a Director in 2017. Much of the work that Neil leads within BVG Associates is focussed on the globalisation of wind energy and on providing strategic advice to governments, industry bodies, developers, investors, and supply chain businesses.
Neil part of the team that co-ordinated and delivered the Scottish Onshore Wind Sector Deal over the past 12 months, working closely with the Strategic Leadership Group, Scottish Government, Scottish Renewables, and the onshore wind sector.
An engineer by background, Neil holds a Masters in Energy Systems and the Environment from the University of Strathclyde.
Lead Power Trader, Renantis
Simone Giacchè is the manager of Renants’ UK Trading Desk.
Thanks to the strong experience accumulated in the Italian Power Market, where we trade more than 1.5 TWh from 70 Renewable assets, the Desk established in the UK, in early 2020.
The extensive knowledge of renewable generation and its contribution in the fuel mix in the ever changing UK power market, allows Renantis to offer flexible and tailor-made conditions to our clients. This is an essential added value for those Generators looking to grasp the upsides of the current market.
Simone has a background experience as a Researcher in Physics, and now, several years in the Power Sector, he works to expand the suite of services offered by the Desk in the UK with the ultimate aim to become a reliable partner for Renewable Generators thus making them competitive in the challenge of the decarbonisation process.
Energy Consultant / Legislative & Regulatory Barriers Lead (Sector Deal), The Energy Landscape / Regen
Simon is a freelance energy system specialist with 13 years’ experience in the energy sector. He spent five years with The Scottish Government providing detailed analysis and advice on a range of challenges including the development of electricity and gas networks, decarbonisation of heat and transport, and the role of carbon capture and storage in reaching net zero. He worked closely with Ministers to support delivery of Scotland’s stretching greenhouse gas emissions targets and he helped develop strong collaborations with regulators and the private sector. He was part of the team who wrote the 2017 Scottish Energy Strategy and the 2020 update to the Scottish Climate Change Plan.
Senior Strategy Advisor - Aviation, Vattenfall
Since February 2019, Senior Strategy Advisor – Aviation, Defence & Radar at Vattenfall Wind Power, leading and managing the interface and co-existence with aviation and defence stakeholders.
He Is Co-chair WindEurope’s Aviation & Defence Task Force (contributing to European Defence Agency and NATO projects and studies); Vice-chair RenewableUK’s Aviation Working Group (sits on its OnWARD 2030 group which is supporting Technical Barriers workstream of the Scottish Onshore Wind Sector Deal); Aviation Workstream Lead for the UK’s Offshore Wind Sector Deal (responsible for its programme, Chairing its Aviation Task Force and Co-chairing the Joint Task Force with UK’ MOD for Air Defence mitigation and co-existence). He also supports the Aviation Investment Fund Company’s Board with Business Case proposals and deliverables.
Prior to this, 2014-2019, he was at RenewableUK (starting as Head of Aviation before moving to Policy Director and then the organisation’s Programme Director). Up to 2014, served 27 years in the (UK) Royal Air Force, including as Aerospace Battle Management Officer, his final post 2012-2013 as Air Command Headquarters lead officer for Air Defence & Windfarms.
Director, Renewables Operations, DNV
As a Director at DNV, Keir brings 25 years of experience of strategic development in the renewables industry. Currently directing teams delivering asset optimisations services, digitalisation, inspections, performance monitoring and energy forecasting. He has led and managed global teams that to date has assessed over 100GW of operating wind and solar farms, both on and offshore, worldwide. His career highlights include establishing operational wind farm optimisation services at Garrad Hassan; pioneering techniques now adopted by the wider wind industry and winning and delivering large segments of customer business for DNV. Previously, Keir has worked for National Wind Power (now RWE Innogy) on operating windfarms. A Chartered Engineer, Keir holds an MSc in Renewable Energy Systems from the University of Loughborough, UK and Risoe, DK.
Senior Aviation Manager / Technical Barriers Lead (Sector Deal), RES
Sam has been at RES for just short of 10 years and is their Senior Aviation Manager. Sam is also the Chair of the Aviation Investment Fund Company Limited. In 2023, she was invited by Scottish Government to join the Onshore Wind Strategic Leadership Team as the Technical Theme Lead to help develop and deliver the Onshore Wind Sector Deal.
Sam is an active member of several aviation forums, including the DESNZ Aviation Management Board, the Scottish Government Eskdalemuir Working Group, OnWARD 2030 and the RUK Aviation Working Group.
Sam is active in Industry Standards, as a member of the BSI PEL/88 (Wind Turbines) committee and is the Convenor for the IEC TC 88 (Wind Energy Generation Systems) Marking and Lighting of Wind Turbines Project Team. As a result of delivering this Technical Specification, Sam has been announced as a recipient of the IEC 1906 Award for 2023.
Lead Commercial Manager, Ørsted
Randall has been in the renewables energy industry for 19 years. Spanning all areas of the project lifecycle from inception, through development, construction, operation and late life management.
He has a technical background in engineering and project management and most recently in commercial and program delivery. Working predominantly for asset investors and owners he is now progressing options for renewable energy development and deployment. He is passionate about the green transition and facilitating the next stage of decarbonising the energy sector through multi-technology assets – developing the next generation of assets with consent and investment - and increased returns and flexibility through better control and digitisation.
Deputy Director - Onshore Electricity, The Scottish Government
Ragne is responsible for onshore electricity policy, strategic coordination and energy consents. Before joining The Scottish Government she worked on energy policy issues in academia and consultancy.
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. She was recently awarded a STELAR award for executive leadership from the University of Strathclyde.
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.
Ecology Manager, SSE Renewables
Mark has over 12 years’ experience in managing and monitoring species in the natural environment during which time he has gained significant experience in ornithology, botany, ecology, and aquatic science. Working as the Onshore Ecology Manager, Mark is responsible for assisting project teams with environmental impact assessments and developing habitat management plans associated with onshore renewable energy developments. Mark also leads the SSE Renewables natural environment working group, who have developed a biodiversity net gain (BNG) metric for use in Scotland and developed a more Scottish centric approach to BNG assessment.
Director Onshore Wind & Solar, EDF Renewables
Jon O’Sullivan is the Director of Onshore Wind at EDF Renewables UK and Ireland. This entails leading the team developing all onshore wind and solar projects in the UK including consenting, investment cases, Mergers & Acquisitions, strategy and route to market.
Prior to joining EDF Renewables, Jon was at Vattenfall for 10 years gaining experience across the full life-cycle of development, construction and operations of renewables. Roles included Director of Vattenfall’s operational onshore wind, solar and battery assets in the UK, Commercial Director in offshore and onshore projects etc. Before this, Jon started his career at BP Alternative Energy and worked on solar, wind, biofuels and M&A projects for 11 years.
Jon has an MSc in Management from the University of Bath and an MBA from the University of Exeter. His passion is to make a positive difference and support the acceleration of net zero in the UK.
Founder & CEO, PPAYA
Kristina is CEO of PPAYA. She brings a wealth of experience in the industry having worked previously at Limejump, where she won the Woman of the Year Award 2019 at the Solar & Storage Awards. While at Limejump, she grew their renewable portfolio from 0 to over 1GW.
Head of Onshore Wind, RenewableUK
James leads RenewableUK’s programme of work on onshore wind to realise the industry’s ambition of achieving 30GW of onshore wind by 2030. James has spent much of his career looking at energy and climate across communications, public affairs and policy for trade associations and membership bodies.
Landscape Architect & Urban Designer Technical Director, WSP
Rebecca is a Fellow of the Landscape Institute and Technical Director with over 27 years’ consultancy experience and is a Technical Lead for the UK landscape team on landscape and visual impact assessment (LVIA), landscape planning and design. She has a particular experience of large scale and major infrastructure projects working in the renewable energy / power generation, transport and utility sectors. She graduated from Edinburgh University and is also a recognised practitioner in urban design and has worked for the Forestry Commission, Gillespies, Scottish Power, Wood UK and most recently WSP.
Rebecca is the current chair of the Landscape Institute Scotland branch, having held this position twice for a number of years. She is also an active member of her local Community Council and a STEM ambassador, regularly running local environment projects with schools and community groups involving education, landscape improvement works, and tree planting.
Current hobby is finding acorns, planting trees and fighting the climate change and biodiversity emergency.
Deputy Director, Renewable Electricity Strategy Team, UK Government
Giles Scott is Head of the Renewables Electricity Strategy Team in the UK Government Department for Energy Security and Net Zero. His responsibilities include advising Ministers on policy for onshore wind, solar, biomass and marine generation technologies. He has undertaken previous roles at BEIS, DECC, DTI and in the electricity industry. He is a chartered engineer and chartered town planner.
Marcus Trinick KC
Planning Considerations Lead (Sector Deal)
Marcus has worked full time on renewables since the mid 1990s and has appeared as advocate at over 150 wind farm public inquiries since 1990. He was one of the authors of ETSU-R-97 on wind farm noise, sat on the DTI's Renewable Energy Advisory Group in the early 1990s, advised the Department which is now BEIS on the planning framework for offshore wind, was a Board member of RUK from 1994 until 2006, and was a Board member of Scottish Renewables subsequent to that. He was appointed Queens Counsel in 2010. Through nearly 450 onshore wind projects he has been exposed to all the legal and planning issues that can arise and even understands some of them. More recently, Marcus was heavily involved in efforts to convert the first draft of NPF4 into something acceptable to the industry. Marcus has his own legal practice and works from home.
Head of Planning & Consents - Onshore, SSE Renewables
Town planning professional with over 30 years’ experience in public and private sector. Experience in development management and enforcement within public sector across mixed development and infrastructure planning and consenting across the UK in the private sector, with a particular focus on the telecommunications and the energy industries. Member of the Royal Town Planning Institute since 1992. Experienced in Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Project Management (APM Project Management Qualification). Significant planning appeal experience including acting as expert planning witness at Inquiry, Hearings and Development Plan Examinations. PAS volunteer and lead community engagement facilitator and trainer with over 20 years’ experience in delivering community and stakeholder engagement.
Technical Director – Onshore Renewables Biodiversity Lead, ERM
Nicholas is an Ecological Consultant and Chartered Environmentalist specialising in onshore renewable energy and has over 14 years experience of working on onshore wind projects in Scotland. Nicholas is the Biodiversity lead for ERM’s Onshore Renewables Team, and also serves on the Scottish Committee of the Chartered Institute for Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM).
Nicholas is an expert in Environmental Impact Assessment, Habitats Regulation Appraisal, and the development of ecological mitigation management and enhancement plans, helping developers deliver onshore wind projects that both safeguarding and enhance local biodiversity.
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