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Speaker Biographies

Neil Collar

Partner / Head of Planning Law

Brodies LLP

Experienced adviser, inquiry advocate, blogger, author and conference speaker - Neil Collar is one of Scotland's best known planning lawyers. He has a particular interest in renewables - having advised on some of the earliest wind farms in Scotland, seeing those wind farms being proposed for life extension/ repowering is making him feel old (experienced!). His team at Brodies LLP were shortlisted for Planning magazine’s Planning Law Firm of the Year in 2018.

Catherine Falconer

Commercial Manager

Scottish & Southern Electricity Networks

Cathy has worked in the electricity industry since 1987 and has been involved in various technical, planning and policy roles now predominantly concerned with new connections: new housing, major demand and generation and alternative provider projects. She is an Edinburgh University Electrical Engineering graduate, Chartered Engineer and Member of the IET. The teams of Commercial Contract Managers for Scottish & Southern Electricity Networks Distribution licences in both Scotland and England are managed by Cathy as well as the Incentive on Connections Engagement (ICE) team. Her teams provided key account management to large distributed generation and demand customers focused on providing a single point of contact for clients throughout the application process up to and beyond energization. They are also responsible for gathering and then ensuring the delivery of significant improvement Commitments for SSENs new connections customers under ICE.

Gina Hanrahan

Head of Policy

WWF Scotland

Gina has been Head of Policy at WWF Scotland since 2017, leading work to develop and advocate for credible policy solutions around climate, land and environment. She has campaigned on net zero and climate legislation, designating energy efficiency as an infrastructure priority, Scotland’s 2030 50% renewable energy target and more, working closely with the Scottish Government and Parliament, industry and the third sector. Gina is a Board Member of Stop Climate Chaos Scotland and a founder member of the recently established Climate Emergency Response Group, a collaboration of civic and business influencers.

Before joining the tartan pandas in 2013 as Climate and Energy Policy Manager, Gina worked for the Institute of International and European Affairs, Ireland’s leading independent think tank, as well as the Irish Parliamentary Service and European Commission. She holds masters in Environmental Policy from Oxford University and in European Studies from University College Dublin.

Claire Mack

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 the Renewables Industry Advisory Group, co-chaired by Scotland’s Energy Minister.

Before joining Scottish Renewables, Claire was Director of Policy and Place at the Scottish Council for Development. 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.

Prior to this Claire worked in retail and the construction industry as well as on regulation of regional broadcasting in the Borders and North East of England.

Silvia Raineri

Solar PV Consultant

Natural Power

Silvia has been involved in carrying out pre-development analysis and technical due diligence for renewable energy projects such as solar farms, anaerobic digestion and energy-from-waste plants.
Silvia’s specialist technical knowledge covers multi-disciplinary due diligence for project acquisition, solar farm asset management and monitoring, technical and financial asset optimization, project management and revamping.

Silvia, who is from Lovere in Northern Italy, holds an honours degree in Energy Engineering from the University of Padova and a Master’s degree (MSc) in Energy Management from the Dublin Institute of Technology.

Andrew Renton

Principal

Castletown Law

Andrew is the senior member of staff at Castletown Law and a leading solicitor in the energy and infrastructure industry. He was until 2018, the Senior Partner in the energy and infrastructure team at Bird & Bird and previously the Head of Energy and Infrastructure at Dundas & Wilson.

Andrews involvement in the energy and infrastructure sector, has been a career long path. His knowledge of solar projects in many jurisdictions includes advising on tariff mechanisms in emerging markets. Andrew works across many low carbon power generation technologies and is a committed mixed generation advocate for low carbon solutions. In early papers on energy storage, Andrew envisaged the introduction of storage to the network management arena and the application of solar as a key component in the mix supporting the position.

Wendy Saigle

Principal Sustainability + Renewable Energy Engineer

AECOM

Wendy Saigle (MSc, BASc (Hons), CEng MEI) is a Principal Sustainability + Renewable Energy Engineer, working in Scotland. She is a registered CIBSE Heat Networks Consultant and Energy Savings Opportunity (ESOS) Lead Assessor.

Wendy consults on sustainability aspects of projects including energy efficiency and Low and Zero Carbon (LZC) technologies. On site-specific and town-wide scales, she has assessed energy efficiency and technology options to reduce carbon emissions in buildings. Technologies she works with include energy efficiency measures, photovoltaics, heat pumps, biomass boilers, solar thermal collectors, solar thermal photovoltaics (PV-T), Combined Heat and Power (CHP), thermal stores district heating, photovoltaics, wind turbines, and battery storage, among others. Techno-economic modelling is part of her work, informing clients on capital costs, maintenance costs, fuel costs, incentives, and carbon savings.

Nick Sharpe

Director of Communications

Scottish Renewables

Nick Sharpe is Scottish Renewables’ Director of Communications. His work involves overseeing Scottish Renewables’ media and public affairs work and liaising between the organisation’s member companies, the media and other stakeholders to promote positive news about the sector to diverse audiences.

A former journalist, Nick trained on the South Wales Echo then spent seven years at the Sun, latterly as Chief Reporter.

He then spent a year at Weber Shandwick, one of the world’s largest public relations consultancies.
At Scottish Renewables he’s also responsible for aspects of marketing and all the organisation’s social media.

Andrew Smith

Partner

Greenbackers Investment Capital

Andrew is the Former Head of the £103m Renewable Energy Investment Fund run for the Scottish Investment Bank - investing debt and equity in a range of marine, low carbon and community owned renewable energy projects - and former Head of Investment for DP Energy - a renewable energy and sustainable development specialist operating in sites across the world - and is now running his own consultancy – Deja Blue Consulting – helping shape projects & businesses and raising finance for them and their projects and an Associate of Greenbackers Investment Capital specialising in raising ­finance for low-carbon, cleantech and climate change businesses. He is also part of the expert group advising on the new EU Innovation Fund and a regular speaker and the DG Mare Blue Invest events.

Donald Speirs

Business Development Manager,

Dulas

Donald Speirs is a dedicated Renewable Energy professional with an almost 20 year track record of working across renewable power technologies in international environments. He started out during the first Scottish ‘wind rush’ of the RO era in the early 2000’s until 2009 where he joined Alstom Power as the product manager for their geothermal energy business. As part of Alstom power, then latterly GE, he was at the cutting edge of various technologies other than wind, including geothermal power, biomass, solar concentrating power and most recently, solar PV where he worked on several development projects from his base in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Since returning to Scotland he is continuing his passion for all things renewables and has joined Dulas Ltd, a company known for being a solar and renewable energy pioneer across the UK. He is a graduate of both Strathclyde (BEng) and Heriot watt universities (MSc).

Morag Watson

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 250+ 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 over 15 year and was previously a Senior Policy Officer with WWF Scotland, specialising in climate change, sustainable development and behaviour change. During this time, she worked on the Scottish Government’s Climate Change and Sustainable Development Action Plans, worked as an advisor to UNESCO and helped found the Scotland’s Regional Centre of Expertise on Education for Sustainable Development within the University of Edinburgh.

Morag holds a degree in Environmental Geoscience from the University of Edinburgh, is a qualified Hill and Moorland Leader and lives in a self-built eco-home in Central Scotland.

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