Onshore Wind Energy 2020 Speakers


Speaker Biography

Hugh McNeal, CEO, RenewableUK

Hugh McNeal has been Chief Executive of RenewableUK since April 2016. He was a senior civil servant from 2006, including spending almost 5 years as the Chief Executive of the Office for Renewable Energy Deployment, and leading work on the development of the UK’s first Low Carbon Industrial Strategy as Deputy Director of Low Carbon Business from 2008 to 2010 at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. Hugh is a Board member of the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult. Hugh was educated at the London School of Economics and Harvard University where he also taught from 1995 to 2000. He was on the Board and then Chair of Equinox, a charity providing services to people seeking to overcome alcohol, drug and mental health problems, from 2002 until 2012. Hugh lives in South London with his wife and young son.

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Sam Hall, Director, Conservative Environmental Network

Sam Hall is the Director of the Conservative Environment Network, an independent forum for conservatives that support conservation and decarbonisation. He joined CEN after having served as a Policy Adviser to Michael Gove when he was Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. He was also the Head of Research at the liberal conservative think tank Bright Blue, leading their work on energy and the environment.


Melanie Onn, Deputy Chief Executive, RenewableUK

Melanie Onn joined RenewableUK in March as Deputy Chief Executive.  Her role includes helping RenewableUK's supply chain members to grow, and developing the skilled workforce the industry needs, including opening up wider areas of the sector to more women. She also leads on public speaking and media work.  Ms Onn was elected twice as Labour MP for Great Grimsby, serving from May 2015 to November 2019, including periods as Shadow Minister for Housing, Communities and Local Government and Shadow Deputy Leader of the House of Commons. 

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Colin Robertson, Partner, Real Estate, Shepherd and Wedderburn  

Colin is a real estate lawyer who has advised developers, investors and funders of energy projects for over 14 years. Colin’s expertise covers the property aspects of projects across the full spectrum of renewable technologies with particular expertise in land assembly for onshore windfarms. Colin often plays a lead role in multi-disciplinary teams carrying out due diligence and inputting into transaction documents for the financing, purchase and sale of windfarm projects.  As a result Colin has a detailed understanding of the key legal issues to be overcome in successfully delivering onshore windfarm projects.

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Mark Vyvyan-Robinson, Director of Solar and Onshore WindEDF Renewables

Mark Vyvyan-Robinson is Director of Solar and Onshore Wind for EDF Renewables. Mark is responsible for the company’s solar and onshore wind development activities in the UK. Mark has been working for EDF Renewables for more than 6 years. Previously Mark has worked on a number of commercial and strategy roles for EDF Energy and his early career was with Shell. Mark has a full-time MBA from London Business School and studied engineering at Cambridge


Lindsay McQuade, CEO, ScottishPower Renewables

Lindsay McQuade is responsible for ScottishPower Renewables’ fleet of over 2GW of renewable generation and future developments of wind, storage and solar plant across the UK and Ireland. Prior to her appointment as CEO, Lindsay was the Policy & Innovation Director of ScottishPower Renewables, having held a number of strategic roles across ScottishPower over the last 20 years. Lindsay is a board director of Renewable UK, helping to shape and inform the policy and regulatory environment for deployment and integration of cost-effective, low carbon, renewable generation across the UK, as well as promoting the industrial benefits delivered by investment in renewable energy generation across the UK. She’s also the Chair of SafetyOn, the health and safety organisation for the Onshore wind sector, working with industry colleagues to provide leadership in health and safety for the dynamic and innovative onshore wind industry, ensuring that key emerging risks are mitigated through cooperation and shared learning.

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Ian Hunter, Managing Director of UK&I Support Services, RES

With more than 13 years’ of experience at RES, Ian has held various roles across the Group, including in engineering, project development, commercial and support services. Ian is responsible for all Business Development, Asset Management and Operations and Maintenance activities in the UK, leading a team of 130+, including operatives, 24/7 control centre support, HV senior authorised persons, asset managers and optimisation engineers. Ian is also a Chartered Engineer and a Member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

  David Flood, Managing Director, Statkraft

Derek Hastings, Head of Onshore Projects, SSE Renewables

Derek Hastings is Head of Onshore Projects at SSE Renewables, the leading developer and operator of renewable energy across the UK and Ireland. His wide-ranging role encompasses wind projects, including new and re-powering, as well as hydro and pump storage, and solar projects at scale in the UK and Ireland. Formerly with SSE Enterprise, Derek has worked in a wide variety of power sectors over the years, including wind, hydro, coal, CCGT, biomass conversion, energy from waste and CCS. 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.


Clare Foster, Partner and Head of Clean Energy, Shepherd and Wedderburn 

Clare is a dual qualified project finance specialist and has been involved in the energy sector since the early renewable projects of the mid-1990s. Clare advises clients on UK projects spanning the energy sector (including onshore, offshore and floating wind, biomass, energy efficiency, tidal, hydro, small-scale renewables and heat) and leads the team on most clean energy transactions. A commissioner for the Edinburgh Climate Commission, Clare is also on the Board of RenewableUK. 

Sean McLachlan, Senior Director, Infrastructure Equity, Aviva Investors 


Malcom Paterson, Onshore Development Director, ScottishPower Renewables



Gauri Kasbekar-Shah,  Director Project and Infrastructure Finacning, Natwest Bank plc. 

Gauri has been working on project finance transactions for the past 17 years focussing mainly on the power and renewables sector and played a pivotal role in establishing NatWest's credentials in the UK. She is currently actively working on financing solutions for unsubsidised projects. She has been involved in structuring and arranging market leading deals across a range of sectors including onshore and offshore wind, waste and biomass.  In onshore wind she has led a number of single asset and portfolio transactions, having financed c.2.5GW of onshore wind capacity. Recent relevant landmark projects including Project Spur Euro 370m portfolio financing for NTR Fund 1, Project Mistral Euro 1.3bn platform financing for JPMAM and Project Helm which is the £355m onshore wind portfolio refinancing for Octopus. Gauri is a thought leader in renewables and is involved in Natwest’s strategy on climate change


Richard Russsell, Group Commercial Director, RES

Richard is Group Commercial Director at RES with over 12 years of experience in the renewable energy sector in various group finance, operational finance and latterly commercial roles. Richard was part of the RES team in 2013 that, together with InfraRed, delivered the £300m Initial Public Offering for the The Renewables Infrastructure Group (“TRIG”). In 2019 Richard led the divestment by RES Group of a 130MW operational portfolio of 9 wind assets to Octopus Renewables. RES Group is an independent developer, constructor and asset manager of grid connected renewable energy infrastructure. RES Group has delivered over 17 GW of new renewable energy projects to date and is active in a range of energy technologies including onshore and offshore wind, solar, energy storage and transmission and distribution. Richard is a Chartered Accountant and holds an honours degree in Economics from Durham University.


George Baxter, Director, GreenPower International 

George Baxter is Director of Development at GreenPower, heading up the independent Scottish renewable company’s development team with a growing portfolio of wind, solar and storage projects across the UK. George has 25 years’ experience in the energy and environment sectors, and moved to GreenPower in 2019 from SSE Renewables where he played a leading role in development strategy, consenting, public affairs and policy over a 12 year period.  


Joe Penrose, Senior Policy Advisor for Onshore Wind and Solar, BEIS


Chris Calvert, Executive Director, Pegasus Planning

Chris has a wealth of experience across a broad range of planning sectors, a range of project sizes, types and complexities across the UK. Chris has particular experience within the energy sector including solar farms and onshore wind. Projects include Kirkby Moor Wind Farm, which has recently been given permission to operate for a further 8 years following a public inquiry.



Andy Sloan, Head of Consent Strategy, SSE Renewables

Andy Sloan is Head of Consent Strategy at SSE Renewables, the leading developer and operator of renewable energy across the UK and Ireland. His wide-ranging role encompasses renewable projects onshore and offshore including re-powering, as well as hydro and pump storage, and solar projects at scale in the UK. Andy has worked in a wide variety of sectors over the years, including Telecoms, housing development, retail development as well as the energy sector. Andy Sloan is a Chartered Surveyor and Town Planner and a member of both the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors as well as the Royal Town Planning Institute, with extensive experience in Project Development and Project Management.


Colin Innes, Head of Planning, Shepherd and Wedderburn 

Collin Innes has extensive experience in high value contentious and non-contentious planning, environmental and compulsory purchase matters across the UK, mainly in the Energy Sector. On the contentious side he represents clients at Public Inquiries, Examinations, Hearings and also advises on Court challenges to planning decisions.  Colin has significant expertise advising on energy projects including on and offshore wind. He is a legal associate of the Royal Town Planning Institute and accredited as a planning specialist.


Guy Nicholson, Head of Grid Intergration, Statkraft



Colm Murphy, Market Change Delivery Senior Manager, National Grid ESO

Colm Murphy is Head of Market Change Delivery for National Grid’s Electricity System Operator. He is accountable for facilitating reform in the ESO’s balancing services markets, opening up markets to competition and delivering new products and services. His team’s remit is to ensure the ESO has the tools and commercial arrangements in place to maximise competition and facilitate the transition to zero-carbon grid operation. Colm’s team is also responsible for the stakeholder-led Power Responsive programme which helps facilitate the increased participation of flexible distributed energy and demand side response in the GB electricity balancing markets.

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Nicola Percival, Senior Regulatory Affairs Manager, RWE 

Nicola has a background in climate science and has worked in the renewable energy sector, both in the public and private sectors, since leaving University. She is RWE Renewables’ expert in grid connections and network charging, and currently active in work to best deliver the increased volumes of offshore wind required by 2030 and beyond. Identifying as an intersectional feminist, Nicola is a champion of improving diversity in the energy industry at all levels.


Rebbeca Williams, Head of Policy and Regulation, RenewableUK

Rebecca leads RenewableUK's work to develop policy and engage stakeholders on the next steps in the energy transition. Rebecca specialises in market design, working closely with governments and regulators to effect change that will deliver renewable energy at the scale needed for net zero. In addition to mature renewables like onshore and offshore wind, Rebecca leads RenewableUK’s work to create the right policy framework to bring innovative technologies – such as floating offshore wind, tidal energy and electricity storage – to market.

  Joe Dunn, Head of Grid & Regulation, ScottishPower Renewables

Keith Wallace, Director, Service Region UK and Ireland, Vestas Northern & Central Europe & Vice Chair, SafetyOn 

Keith has a Mechanical Engineering degree from Leeds University, is a Chartered Engineer and has had a 33 year career within the global power generation and oil and gas industries in various technical, sales and leadership roles. Keith moved into Onshore Wind in 2008 as Service Director for Vestas in UK & Ireland. In this role he has led the business through various stages of transformation and growth with 2.5GW currently under contract and ambitions for further growth in the wider services sector.


Trevor Johnson, HM Principal Inspector of Health and Safety, HSE

Trevor Johnson was appointed HM Inspector of Health and Safety in 1989, based in HSE's Newcastle under Lyme office. He  was promoted to HM Principal Inspector in 1999 and transferred to the Edinburgh Office. He has been involved in the regulation of a wide range of industries including Utilities and Construction. In January 2012 He transferred to a new team in HSE’s Energy Division to regulate the Offshore Renewable Energy Sector. In 2017 the scope of this team was increased to include onshore wind.


Rhys Jones, Head of Technical Affairs, RenewableUK

Rhys is responsible for RenewableUK’s for workstreams on; Health, Safety and Wellbeing, Emergency Response and Crisis Management, and Skills and Competence. In this role he has worked closely with the industry, regulatory partners, and other industry sectors to improve Health and Safety performance. Rhys has over 10 years of experience in the wind energy sector, and has previously worked in Oil and Gas, and the Diving Industry globally.


Jill Lees, Director, Health, Safety & Environment, RWE 

Jill is a senior executive and strategic engineer specialising in the energy sector.  With over 30 years in the energy sector, she is an experienced leader of transformational large-scale engineering projects internationally that have successfully improved commercial outcomes and reduced environmental impact. Jill is currently Director, Health, Safety & Environment across RWE Renewables globally. RWE Renewables, the newest subsidiary of the RWE Group, is one of the world's leading renewable energy companies. With around 3,500 employees, the company has onshore and offshore wind farms, photovoltaic plants and battery storage facilities with a combined capacity of approximately 9 gigawatts. RWE Renewables is driving the expansion of renewable energy in more than 15 countries on four continents. By the end of 2022, RWE targets to invest €5 billion net in renewable energy and to grow its renewables portfolio to 13 gigawatts of net capacity. Jill is a Chartered Engineer and an active Fellow of the Energy Institute. With a first degree in chemistry and a PhD in Material science, Jill is a strong believer in encouraging more women to progress in engineering and technology.


Dan Thomas, Operations and Grid Director, Banks Renewables

Dan is responsible for Banks Group’s operational portfolio of renewable generation projects and the delivery of new grid connections for projects in development. The present Banks Group operational portfolio totals 220MW of onshore wind generation in Yorkshire, Scotland and the North of England. His responsibility includes Health and Safety management, asset performance and management of grid risks on transmission and distribution connected projects. Dan has worked in the power industry for twenty four years in roles with Alstom, Econnect, EDF Energy Networks and Midlands Electricity. Dan is a Chartered Electrical Engineer and is a member of the Renewable UK Grid and Systems group.


David Armour, Director of HSEQ, Natural Power

David has been involved in health and safety for the past 14 years having formally worked as a mechanical maintenance engineer. David has both health and safety, and engineering experience in a number of technical industries including offshore and onshore wind, solar, civil construction, port, maritime, and electrical utilities. David is a Chartered Member of IOSH and chairs the SafetyOn Technical Advisory Committee (TAC).

   Richard Guy, SHEQ Manager, Farrans
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 Barnaby Wharton, Director of Future Electricity Systems, RenewableUK

Barney is Director, Future Electricity Systems at RenewableUK, where he leads work on creating a smart and flexible electricity system, based on renewable generation. He is passionate about the low carbon energy transition, and previously headed up RenewableUK’s policy and regulatory team, covering energy markets, environmental and network regulation. Prior to joining the team at RenewableUK he was part of the energy and climate change team at the CBI, where he led work on energy costs, supply side policy and international climate change, representing British business at the Paris COP.


Iain Dinwoodie, Head of Advanced Performance Engineering, Natural Power

Iain has worked in renewables for over a decade and joined Natural power in 2016. His team works on performance optimisation of renewable energy assets, with a focus on wind. Iain has a MEng in Mechanical Engineering and a PhD on the reliability, operations and maintenance of offshore wind turbines.

  Tony Gannon, Head of Projects & Construction, ScottishPower Renewables

David McMillan, Senior Lecturer, University of Strathclyde

David McMillan is a Senior Lecturer in the Wind Energy and Control Centre (WECC) at University of Strathclyde. He has led over £1.5m worth of research projects focused on cost reduction and performance improvement of wind farms in partnership with developers, operators and the supply chain. Methods and tools developed by David and his research team have delivered double digit £m savings across multiple sites, both at early development and also in the operational phase.