Agenda and Speakers

 08.30-09.00 Arrival Tea & Coffee and Registration

A1: Introduction and Welcome Address

Rachel Anderson, NIRIG Chairperson & Head of External Affairs, RES Group 

Rachel Anderson v1

Rachel Anderson is RES’ Head of External Affairs for the UK and Ireland. RES has been at the forefront of wind energy development for over 30 years and has successfully delivered more than 12GW of wind energy capacity worldwide. Rachel has worked in the renewables industry for 10 years and is responsible for RES’ media and public affairs across UK and Ireland. Rachel holds a BA from the University of Sheffield and is member of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations.



Neasa Quigley, Partner, Carson McDowell    Neasa Quigley

Neasa heads up the energy team at Carson McDowell, which is rated Band 1 in the Chambers Legal guide. She is a corporate lawyer specialising in M&A transactional and project finance work across with particular expertise in the Energy sector. 



A2: Accelerating Renewables 2020-2030

Northern Ireland set itself a target of 40% electricity consumption from renewables by 2020. In 2019 we expect to reach this target and must focus on the next steps towards a fully-decarbonised energy sector. In this session we will learn about new research into the cost-benefit of onshore wind from 2000 and how we can continue the trend of cost-effective renewables to 2030. We will hear an overview of some of the opportunities for the growth in flexible infrastructure, and finally we’ll have the chance to hear about progress towards setting new strategies for energy in the next decade.

Session Chair: Neasa Quigley, Partner, Carson McDowell  Neasa Quigley

Neasa heads up the energy team at Carson McDowell, which is rated Band 1 in the Chambers Legal guide. She is a corporate lawyer specialising in M&A transactional and project finance work across with particular expertise in the Energy sector. 



Dr Mark Turner, Director - Energy, Utilities and Resources, Baringa Partners Mark Turner 200x200 1

Dr Mark Turner is a Director in Baringa’s Energy Advisory practice, with ten years’ experience in European electricity markets. He is a seasoned advisor on regulation and policy, market analysis and modelling, transactions and routes to market. Mark is an expert in the Irish Single Electricity Market, and has worked with all the major utilities active in Ireland, lenders, equity investors and infra funds, large energy users, government and regulators. Recent work has focussed on commercial readiness for I-SEM go-live, market advisory on the sale of wind and thermal generation portfolios, and assessment of the consumer cost of different RES-E 2030 targets.


Paul Reynolds, Partner, Everoze Partners Limited Paul Reynolds 1

Paul is a Partner at Everoze and has over 10,000 hours of experience providing strategic and technical advice to private and public organisations in the electric vehicle, storage and renewables sectors. Paul is passionate about using the flexibility in electric vehicle to deliver a decarbonised electricity network, recently authoring ‘V2G: A Global Roadtrip – lessons learned from 50 international projects


Joe Reynolds, Head of Energy Strategy & Co-ordination, Dept for the Economy Joe Reynolds

Joe is currently the Head of Energy Strategy & Co-ordination at the Dept for the Economy.  He was previously Director of the Programme for Government in the Executive Office and was Deputy Clerk to the Northern Ireland Assembly (2002-2008) following a period working for the United Nations in Kosovo. He has completed a Masters degrees in Law (QUB), Public Administration (Ulster) and Irish Politics (QUB). Joe is now a retired marathon runner and triathlete who enjoys weekend cycling to avoid housework or gardening.

10.25-11.05 Tea & Coffee Break

A3: Coordinating the Low-Carbon Economy

Decarbonisation of the energy sector means working with a full range of stakeholders to deliver fully on the opportunities that it brings. It also means avoiding disconnected policy-making. In this panel discussion we bring together experts from the transport, energy management, planning and urban sectors to engage in analysis of the ways in which coordination can be improved and delivered.

Rebecca Williams, Senior Policy Manager, RenewableUK mug

Rebecca leads RenewableUK’s work on markets and regulations, including onshore wind, fixed bottom and floating offshore wind, and marine technologies. She has strong expertise in market design, and is currently focussed on preparations for the next Contracts for Difference auction round. She has extensive experience in both UK and international energy policy, and Parliamentary issues.


Diane Emerson, Associate, Arup

Sara Tinsley, Associate Director, Planning, Turley Associates   Sarah Tinsley

 A chartered town planner (MRTPI) with breadth of experience in project strategy and delivery and driving collaborative working with a range of stakeholders. In her role at Turley Associates Sara has a strong track record across development sectors leading on matters from project inception to submission, appeal processes and post consent implementations. Her background includes broad experience in plan and strategy formulation, visionary messaging, shaping Local Development Plans, community and stakeholder engagement and EIAs.


Leo Strawbridge, Energy Manager, Derry City and Strabane District Council 

Leo Strawbridge

Leo has worked for Derry City and Strabane District Council for over twelve years, leading teams in council in energy reduction projects. Leo is the current Chair of the NI Energy Managers’ Forum which develops creative and innovative thinking on energy consumption and reduction in the eleven district councils. Leo is also Chair of the Local Government Sustainable Development Forum with a remit to promote and drive the sustainability agenda within local government. Leo is actively involved in developing a strategy for the Council area to achieve its goal of a low carbon economy by engaging with the wider community, industry and the public sector. Leo is a Chartered Mechanical Engineer, a Chartered Environmentalist and a Member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.


Noel Cunniffe, Head of Policy, IWEA  Noel Cuniffe IWEA

Noel Cunniffe is the Head of Policy at 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 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, Noel was the Renewable Integration Lead in the Operations, Planning and Innovation department at EirGrid, the Transmission System Operator of Ireland, where he was responsible for leading aspects of EirGrid’s Delivering a Secure Sustainable Power System (DS3) Programme and the Horizon 2020 funded EU-SysFlex project. He previously led the development of EirGrid’s Tomorrows Energy Scenarios 2017 and has also worked in the Single Electricity Market Operator (SEMO).


A4: Regulating for Decarbonisation and Consumers

Jenny Pyper, Chief Executive, NIAUR  

Jenny Pyper

Jenny Pyper joined the Utility Regulator as Chief Executive on 1 November 2013. Jenny is a BSc Honours graduate of Queen’s University, Belfast who joined the NI Civil Service in 1985.  She was appointed to the senior civil service in 2004 as director of energy policy in the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment where she managed policy and legislative responsibilities in relation to the electricity, gas and renewable energy industries in Northern Ireland.  She moved to take up the post of director of regional planning and transportation in the Department for Regional Development.  She was promoted to deputy secretary in the Department for Social Development in July 2011, with responsibility for urban regeneration and community development. 


Concluding remarks followed by lunch

Meabh Cormacain, Manager, NIRIG  meabh Cormacain

Meabh has been with NIRIG since 2011 and comes from a background of international development work in South America and southeast Asia. NIRIG is the key trade association for renewables in Northern Ireland, representing the interests of both RenewableUK and the Irish Wind Energy Association. In her role as NIRIG Manager she leads on all policy and external affairs issues and works closely with members to further their interests in Northern Ireland through policy development, best practice and communication and networking opportunities.