Northern Ireland’s major annual energy conference…
Tuesday 29th September 2020 • Online Conference
Northern Ireland Energy Forum 2020
The annual Northern Ireland Energy Forum recently took place online. Supported by Pinsent Masons delegates in attendance heard from a number of expert speakers including Diane Dodds MLA, Minister for the Economy; Paddy Turnbull, Smart Grid Ireland and Laura Sandys, Northern Ireland Expert Panel on Energy Transition. The Forum covered some of the major issues shaping the energy landscape. Topics included; the impact of the Covid-19 crisis on the energy sector, the impact of Brexit on energy markets and moving toward the digital utility.
✔ Energy policy priorities for Northern Ireland
✔ A new Strategic Energy Framework for Northern Ireland
✔ The impact of the Covid-19 crisis on the energy sector
✔ Brexit and its potential impact on energy markets
✔ Decarbonising Northern Ireland’s energy networks
✔ Moving towards the digital utility
✔ Decarbonising electricity 100x50
✔ Demand side management and smart meters
✔ The Future Role of Gas (FRoG)
✔ Smart energy grids
✔ The next phase of renewable energy development
✔ The potential for hydrogen in Northern Ireland
✔ Energy in transport
✔ What will the future energy mix look like?
Don’t miss out
The conference is the only annual major event in the local energy calendar and is one not to be missed. Key features of the event include:
✔ Hear directly from the Department for the Economy
✔ Update from the energy regulator
✔ In-depth examination of key policy issues
✔ Overview of Northern Ireland’s major energy projects
✔ Attended by all the key players in the Northern Ireland energy sector
✔ Use of interactive online conference platform
✔ Structured to provide opportunities to engage with speakers in the Q&A sessions
✔ The main annual event for anyone in the energy sector in Northern Ireland
The event will bring together a mix of local industry leaders and visiting experts to look at these issues in detail.
Images from the 2019 conference
Diane Dodds MLA was appointed as the Northern Ireland Minister for the Economy on 11 January 2020. She was previously elected to the Northern Ireland Assembly to represent Belfast West in 2003, serving until 2007. She was also elected to Belfast City Council in 2005, serving until 2010 and chairing the Policy and Resources Committee. In 2009 Diane was elected to the European Parliament to represent Northern Ireland. There she served as a member of the EU Agriculture and Rural Development Committee and substitute member of the EU Fisheries Committee, and also on the Conference of Presidents, the business committee of the Parliament. She returned to the Northern Ireland Assembly in January 2020 to represent the Upper Bann constituency.
David Macartney is Corporate Development Manager at Energia. He is responsible for development opportunities in thermal, bio-energy, battery storage, hydrogen, and renewable transport and heat. David is a Chartered Electrical Engineer starting his career as a transmission system and power station commissioning engineer. He then headed up the engineering and middle office team in Power Procurement business leading the establishment of their trading capabilities at the start of SEM. Before corporate development he was Energia’s renewable business development manager.
Laura Sandys is a Senior Independent Director at SGN Network and the Energy Systems Catapult. She is Chair of the BEIS/Ofgem Energy System Data Taskforce and Chair of the Northern Ireland Expert Panel on Energy Transition. Laura was appointed as a member of the Advisory Panel for the Government’s Cost of Energy Review, and is on the Council for Carbon Capture Utilisation and Storage. She is founder of the Food Foundation and co-founder of POWERful Women, a Visiting Senior Fellow at Kings College, a member of the Carbon Tracker Advisory Board and Deputy Chair of the Food Standards Agency. Laura was previously a Member of Parliament for South Thanet, a member of the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee, and Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Minister for Energy and Climate Change. Described by The Times as ‘one of the sanest of all MPs’ and as ‘lateral-minded, original and free-thinking’.
Michael Scott is Managing Director of firmus energy. He has over 20 years’ experience working within the natural gas industry in both GB and NI and has held senior positions within engineering, business planning and regulatory affairs. Michael joined firmus energy in 2006 as Regulatory Affairs Manager and subsequently Head of Business Development where he was responsible for business regulation, transportation services, gas purchasing, systems development and customer operations. He was responsible for managing firmus energy’s entry into the electricity market. In 2012 he was appointed Managing Director where he is responsible for delivering firmus energy’s business strategy in line with the company’s core values of clarity, empathy integrity and teamwork.
Jonathan Martindale is Director of Business Development for Phoenix natural Gas. He has been with the company for the past 18 years, with a background in communications and business development. With a focus on delivering customer growth across all tenure sections within the Phoenix Natural Gas licence area, Jonathan leads the customer service, marketing and sales divisions and oversees strategic campaign development. Jonathan also manages the business development strategy for network extension infrastructure investment and supports stakeholder and partner engagement on energy transition and role of natural gas in delivering a lower carbon future.
Jo Aston is Managing Director of SONI, the Electricity System Operator for Northern Ireland. Jo also sits on the SONI Board of Directors. Jo joined SONI in 2019, coming from the Utility Regulator for Northern Ireland, where she served as Director of Wholesale Energy Regulation. Jo is a graduate of Queen’s University, Belfast and a chartered civil engineer. Jo is Chair of Business in the Community Northern Ireland’s Environmental Committee, a board member of the Confederation of British Industry, Northern Ireland (CBI) and member of the Institute of Directors.
Richard Murphy is Head of the Pinsent Masons Energy Group in Ireland. Consistently ranked as a pre-eminent energy lawyer by independent legal directories, Richard specialises in energy related projects, acquisitions and disposals across the Irish market. His expertise and experience includes advising clients on energy markets and regulatory matters, M&A/transactional advice and general advisory support to energy sector market participants in Ireland. Recent deal highlights include advising Foresight on the acquisition of the largest medium scale/250 kW onshore wind portfolio across the island of Ireland and other major players such as NTR and Energia on energy transactional work across Ireland.
Aoife Foley is a Reader in Queen's University Belfast, an Adjunct Associate Professor at Trinity College Dublin and Editor in Chief of Elsevier’s Renewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews. Dr Foley returned to academia in 2009 after 12 years in industry. Her research focus is wind power integration, demand response and electricity markets.
Paul Stapleton is Managing Director of NIE Networks Ltd, a position he took up in May 2018. NIE Networks owns and manages the electricity networks in Northern Ireland, with c. 50,000km of network and c. 880,000 connected customers. Paul previously held a number of senior roles within ESB including General Manager of Electric Ireland, ESB Group Treasurer, and Financial Controller of ESB Networks Ltd. He is a Board member of the Energy Networks Association (UK) and of E.DSO (European Organisation for DSO’s), and is a member of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants and the Institute of Directors
Tanya Hedley is Director of Networks at the Utility Regulator. Tanya is responsible for the regulation of electricity, water and gas networks in Northern Ireland. She previously held the roles of Director of Water Regulation, Gas Regulation and Director of Electricity Regulation. Prior to joining the Utility Regulator, Tanya worked for NIE for over 18 years in transmission development, asset management and environmental management. She is also a Fellow of the Institute of Engineering and Technology, a Chartered Engineer and an Associated Member of the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment.
Dr Patrick Keatley
Dr Patrick Keatley is Lecturer in Energy Policy and Infrastructure at Ulster University. His work focuses on the governance of integrated, consumer-led energy systems, and the development of new markets for products and services delivered by consumer-owned resources. Before joining UU, Dr Keatley worked in the offshore oil and gas sector for clients including Shell, BP and Phillips on projects in the UK, Norway, Mexico and the Middle East.
Ian McCarlie is a Partner at Pinsent Masons LLP who has extensive experience of acting for developers, stakeholders and funders in the renewables and alternative energy sectors across the United Kingdom and Ireland. Ian’s expertise includes advising on joint ventures, project acquisitions and development, fund raising and project construction, procurement and financing (onshore and offshore wind, solar, biomass, AD, wave and tidal technologies).
Dr. Benjamin K. Sovacool
Dr. Benjamin K. Sovacool is Professor of Energy Policy at the Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU) at the University of Sussex Business School in the United Kingdom. There he serves as Director of the Sussex Energy Group. Professor Sovacool works as a researcher and consultant on issues pertaining to energy policy, energy security, climate change mitigation, and climate change adaptation. More specifically, his research focuses on renewable energy and energy efficiency, the politics of large-scale energy infrastructure, designing public policy to improve energy security and access to electricity, and building adaptive capacity to the consequences of climate change. He is a Lead Author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Sixth Assessment Report (AR6), due to be published in 2022, and an Advisor on Energy to the European Commission’s Directorate General for Research and Innovation in Brussels, Belgium. He has played a leadership role in winning and managing collaborative research grants worth more than $19.6 million, including those from the U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. National Science Foundation, MacArthur Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, Energy Technology Development and Demonstration Program of Denmark, the Danish Council for Independent Research, and the European Commission. In the United Kingdom, he has served as a Principal Investigator on projects funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, Natural Environment Research Council, and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. He is the recipient of multiple national and international awards and honors, including the “Distinguished Graduate Alumni Achievement Award” from his Alma Mater Virginia Tech, the “Dedication to Justice Award” given by the American Bar Association, and a “Distinguished Visiting Energy Professorship” at the Environmental Law Center at Vermont Law School. With much coverage of his work in the international news media, he is one of the most highly cited global researchers on issues bearing on controversies in energy and climate policy.
Martin Lambert is a Senior Research Fellow at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies. Within the Natural Gas Research Programme at the Institute, he leads their work on biomethane and other renewable gas. Since leaving Shell in 2016, in addition to his work with the Institute, Martin works as an independent consultant specialising in the international gas and LNG business. Martin’s 34 year career with Shell included several senior leadership positions in the gas, LNG and biofuels businesses. He spent around half his career overseas, including assignments in Germany, Japan and the Philippines. From 2011 to 2015 he was seconded to North West Shelf Australia LNG as Senior Vice President Marketing. Martin holds an MA in economics and engineering from the University of Cambridge.
David Connolly is CEO of the Irish Wind Energy Association (IWEA) which is Ireland’s largest renewable energy association. IWEA works with a wide range of internal and external stakeholders to build understanding and awareness of the benefits of Irish wind and renewable energy, and to ensure that Irish wind energy continues to provide clean, cost effective electricity to communities, businesses, factories and homes across Ireland. Previously, David was an Associate Professor in Energy Planning at Aalborg University in Copenhagen where his research focused on the design and assessment of 100% renewable energy systems for electricity, heat, and transport. He graduated as a Mechanical Engineer in 2007 and completed a PhD in energy modelling in 2011, both at the University of Limerick.
Peter McClenaghan is a regulation and strategy consultant who specialises in energy policy projects. His on-going work with energy clients includes advising GB companies on the development of Business Plans for the RIIO-2 Price Control. Prior to founding Engage Strategy Peter was head of the Regulation Department in the market leading integrated energy supply and distribution company Firmus Energy where he was responsible for regulatory projects, compliance and engagement. Peter led the development of two Firmus Energy price control business plans and was a member of a three-person senior management team who directed the Company’s appeal to the Competition and Markets Authority.
Sam McCloskey is Director of the Centre for Advanced Sustainable Energy (CASE). Sam joined CASE in 2011 following an 18-year career in consultancy. She can call upon broad ranging experience of leading energy, sustainability and resource efficiency projects across a number of industry sectors, from local to pan-European projects, and with a strong focus on research & development / programme management. Through the MATRIX government science advisory panel she was intrinsically involved in the development of a Road Map for sustainable energy to 2035 in Northern Ireland. She is also a Non-Executive Director of the Workspace Group, one of the largest social enterprise organisations in Northern Ireland.
Richard Rodgers is Head of Energy, Department for the Economy, with over 30 years’ experience in the energy industry. This included British Gas for 8 years, Phoenix Natural Gas for 12, as MD (International) at Eaga for 5 years, responsible for the delivery of fuel poverty programmes for Governments across the world and currently as Strategic Advisor (Energy) at the Strategic Investment Board (seconded into DfE). Richard was a non-executive director on the Board of the Utility Regulator for 8 years (ending in March 2019)
Richard Smith is the General Manager of Huhtamaki Lurgan Ltd which is part of the €3billion Huhtamaki food packaging group. The Lurgan plant contributes to the circular economy by processing council collected waste paper and factory waste card into egg cartons and cup carriers. The company has recently completed a £5million investment in automated production lines to boost output by 25%. Richard has over 15 years’ experience at MD/GM level in the manufacturing, renewables and food sectors.
Roger Henderson currently holds the position of Network Assets Director at NIE Networks with responsibility for network development and asset investment strategy. He joined NIE Networks as a graduate engineer and has developed extensive management experience in networks operations, major project delivery and connections of renewable technologies to the electricity network. He previously held the position of Network Connections Director and led the change within the business to facilitate competition to the connections market in Northern Ireland. He is a Chartered Engineer and a member of the Institution of Engineering and Technology.
Barry Kilcline is Director of Development Ireland at SSE Renewables, part of the FTSE-listed SSE plc and the leading developer, owner and operator of renewable energy across Ireland and the UK. Barry has responsibility for development and construction of SSE Renewables’ 1GW-plus pipeline of offshore and onshore wind energy projects around the island of Ireland, including Arklow Bank Wind Park in the Irish Sea. Barry has worked on a number of large capital renewable energy projects for SSE Renewables, the most recent of which is Galway Wind Park, Ireland’s largest windfarm. A graduate of electronic engineering from Trinity College with an MSc from UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School, Barry came to SSE Renewables with significant experience after working with ESB International both in Ireland and internationally.
Kevin Shiels is Director of Retail Markets and Consumer Protection at the Utility Regulator. His role includes leading on energy retail and customer protection strategy development; developing effective retail competition in the regulated energy sectors; and leading on retail market information and compliance issues. He has been with the Utility Director for over 10 years, working on gas industry regulation; setting up the initial water regulation framework in Northern Ireland; corporate strategy development and latterly leading on all retail energy market issues.
Dr Theresa Donaldson
Dr Theresa Donaldson is Deputy Chair of the EirGrid Group Board. She achieved Chartered Director status with the Institute of Directors in 2018. She was Chief Executive of Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council (June 2014-September 2018) and Chief Executive Craigavon Borough Council (2010-2014). Prior to this Theresa held several senior management positions in health and social care and legal services in NI including as Director of Policy and Civil Service Delivery in the Northern Ireland Legal Services Commission. Theresa held a public appointment as Chair of a Health and Social Services Research Ethics Committee for 6 years (2004-2010) and a Judicial Appointment as Lay Member Charity Tribunal (2012-2014). Theresa has been a member of the EirGrid board since June 2017.
Paddy Turnbull is currently the Acting Chair of Smart Grid Ireland (a not for profit advocacy industry body) he was the co-founder of SGI in 2009 and elected Chair from 2009 – 2019. During this period he was the Country Sales Leader for General Electric, initially in their Digital Energy business and ultimately in the Renewable Energy Grid Business. He also co-founded the Global Smart Grid Federation which he led as Chair from 2010 – 2017 by which time it had grown to 17 countries in membership. He also held a number of leadership roles in multi-nationals in the Telecoms industry. He is now the Chair of the Green Party Northern Ireland Energy Policy Group.
Dr. David McGowan
Dr. David McGowan is a Senior Lead Engineer within Energy Systems Analysis at SONI. David is responsible for SONI’s Tomorrow’s Energy Scenarios, which sets out a range of credible pathways for the decarbonisation of the NI power system. David also leads a European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSOE) scenario building working group. The working group develops long term gas and electricity scenarios that take into account views from a broad range of European stakeholders. ENTSO-E is currently developing joint gas and electricity scenarios that consider various pathways to a net-zero European emissions by 2050. Before joining SONI, David worked as a research fellow in power system control, at Queen’s University Belfast, from which he holds a PhD in Engineering.
Professor John Barry
John Barry is Professor of Green Political Economy in the School of History, Anthropology, Philosophy and Politics at Queen’s University Belfast. His areas of research include green moral and political theory; green, post-growth and heterodox political economy; the politics, policy and political economy of climate breakdown and low carbon energy transitions; normative aspects of environmental and sustainable development politics and policy; action and engaged research; the greening of citizenship and civic republicanism. His latest book is The Politics of Actually Existing Unsustainability: Human Flourishing in a Climate-Changed, Carbon-Constrained World (2012, Oxford University Press) - https://global.oup.com/academic/product/the-politics-of-actually-existing-unsustainability-9780199695393?cc=gb&lang=en&. Barry is the Belfast lead for the 5 year ESRC funded ‘Place Based Climate Action Network’ (PCAN) (2019-2023); a central element of which will be the establishing Belfast City Energy Transition and Climate Commission, which will have a strong Just Transition focus.
Paddy Larkin was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Mutual Energy Ltd in 2010, the company that now owns and operates the Moyle Electricity Interconnector, the Scotland-Northern Ireland Gas Pipeline, the Belfast Gas Pipeline and the Gas to the West Pipeline. He joined Mutual in 2007 as Executive Director and Managing Director for the Moyle Interconnector. Prior to this he was Chief Executive of Premier Power’s Ballylumford Power Station. Since joining as an engineering graduate in 1991 he held various roles in that business and was involved in the buyout of the long-term availability contracts, the construction of the 600 megawatt power station and the participation in the then new competitive electricity market.
Kirsty McManus was appointed National Director for the Institute of Directors in Northern Ireland in August 2017. Formerly assistant regional director at the NI Confederation of British Industry (CBI), Kirsty’s appointment followed a successful career during which she has held senior positions at the Ulster University, NI Chamber and Vistage in California.
Kirsty has over 18 years’ experience working including markets such as the United States and Europe. Kirsty has a degree in Information Management from Queen’s University and an MBA from Ulster University Business School.
Steven Agnew is the Head of NIRIG, having been appointed in October 2019. He is a former leader of the Green Party in Northern Ireland and served as MLA for North Down from 2011 – 2019. During his time as MLA he sat for five years on the Enterprise, Trade and Investment Committee which scrutinised energy policy. He was also the architect of the Children’s Services Co-operation Act.
Kerry Curran is the Policy Research Manager at InterTradeIreland, the Cross-Border Business Development Body. She has more than fifteen years' experience of working in strategic corporate affairs and policy roles. Prior to joining InterTradeIreland Kerry worked for Queen’s University Belfast, The Environment Agency (GB) and Renewable UK. Kerry gained an MBA from Ulster University and has represented the Environment Agency (GB) on strategic cross government and regulatory panels such as the Living with Environmental Change Group and the Regulators Research Forum. She has also been an ISO Standards Committee Member for Northern Ireland.
Bob Hanna is the former Chief Technical Advisor at the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment in Ireland. In this position, he represented Ireland in a number of international roles, including the EU’s Strategic Energy Technology Plan Steering Group.
He was previously Advisor to Sustainable Energy Ireland, Commercial Manager with Premier Power, and General Manager of Northern Ireland Electricity International. He has also held positions with the former National Board for Science and Technology and the Electricity Supply Board in Ireland, Kennedy & Donkin Consulting Engineers and the Ministry of Technology in the U.K., and the Institut fuer Solare Energieversorgungstechnik in Germany.
He was a founding Board member of the Northern Ireland Centre in Europe, and is currently interim Chair of the Board of Smart Grid Ireland. He won “Consultant of the Year” Awards in 1993 and 1995, and was leader of a team that was awarded one OBE and three MBEs for services in Bosnia during the mid-1990s. He holds degrees from Queen’s University Belfast and University College Dublin and is a chartered energy engineer.
Michael McKinstry is a qualified accountant and has been with Phoenix Natural Gas since its formation in 1996, initially as Financial Director, joining the Group board in 2006, before being appointed Group CEO in 2014. Michael has been a key member of the executive management team responsible for driving Phoenix Natural Gas throughout the growth and evolution of the business and taking a lead role in guiding the business through the various changes in ownership and financial and operating structures during those 20 years. Prior to Phoenix Natural Gas, Michael gained extensive financial management experience across a broad range of business sectors, including Premier Power (energy), GEC (engineering) and Ulster Weavers (textiles).
Joe Reynolds is Head of Division on energy in the Department for the Economy. He was previously Director of the Programme for Government in the Executive Office and took up his current post in March this year. He has been working in the NI Civil Service since 1989. Joe has Masters’ degrees in law and public administration.