Our 2023 speakers will be announced in due course

Claire Ross

Energy Strategy Team Leader - Scottish Government

Claire Ross is currently leading the consultation and finalisation process for the Scottish Government’s Energy Strategy and Just Transition Plan, which was published in January 2023. As Scotland’s first just transition plan, this is a key piece of work in setting out the future direction of Scotland’s transition to net zero.
Claire joined the Scottish Government in early 2021 after more than 10 years with Highlands and Islands Enterprise. She held a number of roles with HIE, including in offshore wind and project managing the establishment of Wave Energy Scotland. She began her career in European funding and policy, and worked for four years in Copenhagen as Programme Manager for an Intrereg funding programme, leading the development of a seven year strategy for transnational co-operation.
Claire is originally from Benbecula in the Outer Hebrides and currently lives in Ross-shire.

Christianna Logan

Director of Customers and Stakeholders - Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks Transmission

Christianna is the Director of Customers and Stakeholders at Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks Transmission. Christianna and her team work to deliver a net zero future by connecting low carbon generators across the north of Scotland and supporting those already connected. They also work with Stakeholders to deliver best outcomes for customers and society from the energy system. Christianna has spent over fourteen years in the energy industry working on strategy and business development, futures and innovation. She moved into electricity transmission in 2016 to help deliver a smart sustainable system.

Alison Wilson

Director of Advancement and Alumni Engagement - University of the Highlands and Islands

In her current role Alison builds strong relationships with individuals, businesses, charitable trusts and foundations, and alumni who value the role UHI plays in providing opportunities for students and in developing focused research within our region. This has included recent partnership work with the offshore wind industry, following the launch of the Scottish Offshore Wind Energy Council's collaborative framework charter, whereby ScotWind developers have committed to working together to support UHI’s STEM Outreach initiative with a £900,000 funding package. Previously, Alison spent 25 years in a range of roles including skills development and telecommunications, and leading HIE’s Financial and Business Services, Inward Investment and Business Engagement functions. Alison is a Director of Inverness Women’s Aid and a Trustee of Port of Inverness.

Stuart Beasley

Head of Energy Solutions Sales - E.ON B2B Solutions

Stuart Beasley is a senior level leader with over 20 years experience in B2B and B2C business divisions. Specialities include: B2B corporate and mid-sized customer sales management, commercial development and risk management, employee and team evolution, product and proposition production, strategy & operational improvement, business planning & sales performance reporting. Stuart supports businesses and organisations to achieve Net Zero as part of the leadership team at E.ON B2B Solutions in the role of Head of Sales for B2B Solutions.

Morven Fancey

Head of Universities, Skills & Population - Highlands & Islands Enterprise

Morven Fancey is Head of Universities, Skills &Population at Highlands & Islands Enterprise (HIE) - the regional economic development agency for the northern half of Scotland - where she has over 30 years’ experience of economic and regional development. Her current responsibilities include developing the university and skills system in line with regional needs and developing HIE’s approach to addressing depopulation, with a strong emphasis on housing.

Elain MacRae

Head of Energy Strategy - Highlands and Island Enterprise

A graduate of Robert Gordon’s University in European Business Administration and French, Elain has dedicated her career to date to the economic development of the Highlands and Islands and for over 10 years has been part of HIE’s Energy Transition & Net Zero Team, most recently as Head of Energy Strategy. Sustainable economic growth across the Highlands and Islands is HIE’s core purpose, and energy is a priority sector, offering distinct competitive advantages. In addition to securing maximum economic and social benefits from large scale offshore developments and stimulating innovation across emerging technologies, HIE is committed to the deployment of local energy systems, noting the region’s rich energy resources, and the community benefits such an approach can bring.

Ken Gowans

Chair of Economy and Infrastructure - The Highland Council

Ken is the Chair of Economy and Infrastructure at the Highland Council where he has been a member for over 11 years holding various senior positions. Alongside this, he is also a Creative Industries Lecturer at UHI having held the position of Assistant Professor at NSCAD University, Nova Scotia where he taught undergraduate, Master of Fine Art and Master of Design Degrees to Canadian and International students.

Gillian Martin MSP

Energy Minister - Scottish Government

Gillian Martin grew up in Newburgh, Aberdeenshire. Prior to her role as an MSP, she lectured in Television Production at North East Scotland College and ran her own video production company. She also designed safety courses for the energy industry and was the manager of an emergency media response team for companies operating in the North Sea for 10 years.
Ms Martin was elected as a Member of the Scottish Parliament to represent Aberdeenshire East in 2016.

Kevin Blyth

Business Analyst, Diverse and Green Energies - Serimax

Kevin is a strong dynamic relationship builder at all levels and a highly experienced senior management team member with a proven track record in business diversification, growth, and innovation.

Primarily focussed on reducing business risk from growth and embracing alternative market verticals and applications for existing skill sets, Kevin brings extensive energy-based experience in Sales & Marketing as well as demand focussed Product management in home and international markets.

Consistently adopting a systematic approach over all areas of responsibility, Kevin is a hands-on problem solver with a high rate of achievement and an appetite for new challenges. Kevin specialises in organic growth and ensures that the best possible level of customer service has been delivered increasing success rates and profitability for the companies he works with.

Working from a positive base, Kevin leads and actively leads and participates within his Sales & Marketing teams with passion and energy maintaining a clear focus on delivering positive results creating a platform for long term relationships with his internal & external customers and stakeholders.

Dr Neil Wight

Subject Network Leader, Engineering and the Built Environment - University of the Highlands and Islands

Dr Neil Wight leads the Engineering and Built Environment subject area for UHI. He has a PhD in Engineering, an MSc in Renewable Energy Engineering, and research interests in energy conversion - including related nanomaterials and device architectures. Previous industry partners include the European Space Agency. Prior to joining academia Neil spent 20+ years working across the global energy sector. For more than a decade of this he worked to create and deliver solutions by combining multi-partner project environments and disruptive innovation.

Jimmy Williamson

Executive Director - Scottish National Investment Bank

Jimmy joined the bank in June 2021 as Executive Director within the Investment Origination team, having focused on the Innovation mission and scalable tech. Recently, he moved across to specialise in Offshore Wind and Alternative Energies.
Jimmy has over 20 years’ experience in originating and structuring complex growth financing solutions across multiple sectors, including technology venture capital investment with NatWest and leveraged finance for private equity with Lloyds Banking Group, where he led their regional teams across the UK including their sector coverage for the oil & gas vertical.
During his time at Lloyds he also managed its cornerstone investment into Bridges Ventures’ first fund, one of the first commercially successful impact investment funds in the UK. More recently he was Commercial Director at Calash, a specialist energy and industrials strategic consultancy, helping clients and investors transition business models and monetise sustainable organic and acquisition-led growth in new and existing markets.

Malcolm MacLeod

Depute Chief Executive - The Highland Council

Malcolm is the Interim Depute Chief Executive of The Highland Council, whose current remit covers economic development, transformation, climate change and energy, change management and ICT. Previous roles have included the Executive Chief Officer responsible for the Infrastructure, Environment and Economy Service in Highland Council. His responsibilities covered Roads and Infrastructure, Planning, Environment and Low Carbon Transport and Economic Development and Regeneration.

Recently, he has been responsible for driving forward significant economic development and transformational projects such as Opportunity Cromarty Firth, the £315m Highland City Region Deal (including inverness Castle project), Uig Harbour redevelopment, the Council’s in-house bus operations, the Wick Airport Public Service Obligation and the Levelling Up Fund bids and project delivery. He has also helped established groups such as the Highland Economic Recovery Partnership, the Regional Economic Partnership as well as contributed to other externally facing initiatives such as the Scottish Cities Alliance, the Northern Territory Programme Board, Caithness and North Sutherland Regeneration Partnership, HITRANS and a national Visitor Management Group.

Paul Healy

Head of Digital and Transformation - E.ON B2B Solutions

Paul Healy supports businesses and organisations to achieve Net Zero as part of the leadership team at E.ON B2B Solutions. He has worked in the energy industry for 15 years having joined the npower graduate scheme in 2008. His career focus has been centred on industrial and commercial metering, energy management, renewables and decarbonisation. He has spent time in Commercial, Operational, Product and Transformational roles and now as Head of Digital and Transformation Paul uses his passion for digital capability to ensure energy visibility, insight, optimisation and action in helping customers towards Net Zero and their energy objectives.

George Baxter

Director of Development - GreenPower International

George is Director of Development at leading independent Scottish renewable energy company GreenPower International, delivering wind, hydrogen and solar developments in the UK. George joined GreenPower in 2019 after 12 years at SSE and has significant experience in renewable development. In addition to playing a key role in delivering consents and a construction pipeline of over 3.5GW of renewable energy and storage projects, George has significant industry experience which previously includes five years as a Board Director at trade body Scottish Renewables and is currently vice-chair of trade body Solar Energy Scotland. Prior to his renewable industry career, George worked for green NGOs WWF and Friends of the Earth Scotland and with the Scottish Green Party MSPs in the Scottish Parliament. George is also a Board Director at Highland Tourism Community Interest Company working alongside the tourism and energy industries to create a common purpose of delivering a world leading sustainable future for the Highlands.

Rt Hon Brian Wilson CBE

- The Stornoway Gazette

Rt Hon Brian Wilson CBE is a former Labour MP who served as UK Energy Minister and also UK Trade Minister. A journalist by profession, he was founding editor of the West Highland Free Press. Since leaving politics, Brian has lived in the Isle of Lewis where, as chairman of Harris Tweed Hebrides, he was named UK Global Director of the Year by the Institute of Directors. He is an Honorary Fellow of the University of the Highlands and Islands; a Visiting Professor at Strathclyde University where he chairs the Centre for Energy Policy and a director of Celtic Football Club.

James Buck

Head of Marine Service and Transportation and Harbour Master - Orkney Islands Council Harbour Authority

Joining the Royal Navy from school, Jim had a varied 30 year career becoming a Specialist Navigator (marine Pilot) and Master Mariner (warship). Jim has travelled the world on a variety of naval vessels, from the smallest mine hunter to the largest aircraft carrier. He has commanded both ships and squadrons of vessels, held instructional and strategic posts and worked with an array of international organisations, navies and individuals. He was made a Fellow of the Royal Institute of Navigation and completed his career in the Ministry of Defence in 2017. He continued his maritime career, working first at Peel Ports Great Yarmouth as the Head of Marine Service and Operations and then for OSI Maritime Limited as a Business Development Director.
He now looks forward to providing the strategic direction and leadership to secure a strong and prosperous maritime future for Orkney.

Mark Wilson

CEO - ILI Group

Mark has been focused on the renewable energy sector since 2008. From an original target of 100 consents, Mark led the ILI team in achieving 96 successful planning applications for onshore wind turbine projects. On that journey it became clear that in the near future intermittent generation would need energy storage alongside it to ensure the country achieves its net zero targets.
This led to ILI building on their renewable generation experience to help create a long-lasting sustainable solution for a greener, stable electricity grid. We are working on 3 Pumped Storage Hydro projects in Scotland with approx 2.5GW of capacity and also over 2.2GW of utility scale battery. To date we have had 400MW of battery storage projects funded and our Red John PSH project at Loch Ness has all the consents and is ready to start construction once the UK government implements a suitable mechanism like cap and floor.

Mike Hay

Deputy Project Director - West of Orkney Windfarm

Mike is Deputy Project Director and Board Member of the West of Orkney Windfarm and Commercial Director of one of its shareholders, RIDG. Over 20 years in offshore wind Mike has led the industry position on Round 3 at Renewable UK, designed and delivered the Offshore Wind Accelerator at the Carbon Trust, won and developed the Hornsea Zone at Mainstream Renewable Power and delivered the UK Government’s supply chain objectives as a Sector Specialist at the Department for International Trade. He holds an MA(Hons) from the University of Aberdeen, an MSc from Imperial College London and is an APM qualified project manager.

Kateryna McKinnon

Development Manager - Crown Estate Scotland

Kateryna McKinnon is Development Manager in the Offshore Wind Development team at Crown Estate Scotland. Educated in Ukraine as an Economist, Kateryna has worked in economic development in Scotland for around 15 years. Her experience spans across research and economics, energy and supply chain development, European and International (with a particular focus on the Arctic) policy and engagement. She currently focuses on managing a portfolio of seabed option to lease agreements for offshore wind

Dr Su Bryan

Dean of the Faculty of Science, Health and Engineering - University of the Highlands and Islands

Dr. Su Bryan is Dean of the Faculty of Science, Health and Engineering at UHI. With a background in ecology, Su has a strong interest in promoting careers in STEM and is currently leading the expansion of UHI’s STEM outreach programme, in collaboration with industry partners. She chairs the Highlands and Islands STEM Partnership.

Iain Sinclair

Executive Director - Global Energy Group

Iain is Executive Director, Renewables & Energy Transition at Global Energy Group, leading the development and implementation of GEG's renewables business growth strategy. This includes large scale capital investment projects, port infrastructure developments and offshore wind manufacturing opportunities. With over 20 years renewable energy experience, he is a Board Director at Scottish Renewables, sits on the Scottish Government’s Renewables Strategic Leadership Group, is a Deepwind Cluster board member and a member on SOWEC’s Supply Chain Steering Group. He is also Non Exec Director of the leading wave energy specialists, Mocean Energy.

Trudy Morris

Chief Executive - Caithness Chamber of Commerce

Trudy Morris is the Chief Executive of Caithness Chamber of Commerce.
Caithness Chamber of Commerce is the ‘voice of business’ in the North Highlands and is the UK's most northerly chamber.
Its members are drawn from a vast range of industry sectors including energy, tourism, retail, transport, food and drink, manufacturing, professional services and third sector across the North Highlands and beyond. It has over 225 members and is part of Scottish Chambers of Commerce, which is Scotland’s largest and most influential business network.
Trudy is passionate about both business and the area, frequently liaising with businesses throughout the region to understand their needs and developing and driving initiatives which support the business community and the promotion of the region as a whole.

Ailsa Raeburn

Chair - Community Land Scotland

Ailsa is Chair of Community Land Scotland. She has worked with colleagues to support urban and rural communities across Scotland to acquire and develop locally important land and buildings. She also supports the Team on policy development and advocacy, focusing on legislative opportunities to further transformational change for communities.
As Chair of the Isle of Eigg Heritage Trust, she is also involved in the management and development of community owned renewable energy, housing, woodland, business and tourism assets. Eigg was the first community in the world to generate and manage their own electricity supply using 100% renewable energy. Other CLS members that own renewables are also leading on developing local community wealth and well being as well as a Just Transition to Net Zero.
Ailsa is also a member of the Boards of Highlands and Islands Enterprise and Crown Estate Scotland.

Cllr Raymond Bremner

Leader of the Council - Highland Council

Raymond Bremner was elected Leader of the Highland Council in May 2022, having first been elected six years ago, and was Leader of the opposition in the last administration. He is also a member of the Convention of the Highlands & Islands and a member of the Scottish Cities Alliance. He originally trained to become a piano technician at college in Edinburgh, but qualified in Business Management after becoming a manager at Caithness Glass. He is also the former General Manager of Geddes Window Systems Ltd and the former Director of Caithness Chamber of Commerce. Raymond then moved into politics just before the 2014 Scottish Independence Referendum.
Music is one of his main passions and he is choirmaster and conductor with the Melvich Gaelic Choir. He is also a fluent Gaelic speaker.

Mina Hanna

Project Manager - The PowerHouse

An Energy Engineer, Mina has over 6 years of combined experience spread across alternative fuels operations, co-designing green economy transition programmes, improving energy efficiency, wells abandonment, and project management. Mina is currently managing the Inverness and Cromarty Firth (ICF) Powerhouse. He plays a key role in coordinating a steering group to lead the development of the PowerHouse educational and innovation acceleration hub which focuses on offshore wind and low-carbon hydrogen technologies.

Rob Orr

Strategic Relations Manager for Energy - Skills Development Scotland

Rob has been involved in economic and skills development for over 25 years. He joined Skills Development Scotland (SDS) in 2010, and his role as Strategic Relations Manager for Energy involves leading, developing and influencing SDS’s relationships across the sector on a national and regional basis. His role involves wide collaboration with Scottish Government, Enterprise Agencies and other public sector bodies to build the skills base we need for the transition to net zero, and align provision with the needs of employers. A graduate of St Andrews University, Rob is also a member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, and sits on a number of government and industry groups, including the Scottish Offshore Wind Energy Council Skills Group, and has previously been a Board Member of Dumfries & Galloway College.

Emma Plato

STEM Engagement Manager - Science Skills Academy - HIE

Emma is passionate about improving people's lives and the communities they live in through engagement with STEM (Science Technology, Engineering and Maths). Emma is currently seconded from the Glasgow Science Centre to work with the Science Skills Academy at Highlands and Islands Enterprise. The Science Skills Academy delivers hands-on practical STEM activities to P6-S2 students in the Highlands and Islands. We run sessions in bespoke Newton Rooms, which are tailored to complement STEM industries in the local community. Our aim is for the sessions to excite and inspire students, and encourage them to study STEM subjects at school and beyond. We also introduce students to the wide variety of STEM career pathways, both in general and in the Highlands and Islands region.

Simon Duncan

Director of B2B Solutions - E.ON

With 20yrs experience in the energy industry, Simon has led key strategic programmes and operational initiatives set to transform the energy industry, at government, industrial and national levels. Right now, his focus is on helping industrial and commercial customers decarbonise their energy systems on their route to Net Zero, with on-site renewables, tailored energy systems and digital energy efficient solutions, in addition to supporting cities, towns, and communities transform their energy infrastructure.

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