ISEA SOLAR IRELAND 2021 Agenda & Speakers

Minister Darragh O'Brien's - Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage

Darragh O'Brien T.D. was appointed Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage in June 2020. He is an elected TD for the constituency of Dublin-Fingal. Prior to his election to the 30th Dáil in 2007, Minister O'Brien worked mainly in Financial Services and was elected to Fingal County Council in 2004. He was elected to Seanad Éireann in 2011.

He has held various positions within the Oireachtas including Vice-Chairperson of the Public Accounts Committee, Member of the Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Equality, Defence and Law Reform, Leader of Fianna Fáil in the Seanad, Opposition Frontbench Spokesperson on Dublin, Foreign Affairs and Housing.

Minister O'Brien is committed to examining the best way forward in terms of housing and accommodation solutions and enabling people to live fulfilling lives, in a safe, sustainable and environmentally-friendly manner.

Pictured is Darragh O'Brien. Picture Conor McCabe Photography.

Andy Kelly - Senior Principal Consultant - AFRY Management Consulting

Andy Kelly is a Senior Principal at AFRY Management Consulting. He leads AFRY's commercial work in the Irish Electricity Market, supporting clients across the board in addressing the future evolution of the market, with significant transition from the decarbonisation throughout the island of Ireland.

He is a senior member of AFRY's Transactions team, leading projects providing market advisory services for European energy transactions, including commercial due diligence and asset valuation for renewable generation, interconnector and storage assets, and integrated utilities.

Andy has 20 years' commercial experience in European wholesale power and commodity markets, and has a deep understanding of the commercial aspects of the electricity generation and trading markets. He has extensive experience of leading strategic and commercial activities in the wholesale and renewable markets, involving a range of stakeholders.

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Conall Bolger - Chief Executive Officer - Irish Solar Energy Association (ISEA)

Conall brings nearly 15 years of experience in energy and sustainability to ISEA. He has developed substantial markets and policy expertise working across the renewable energy value chain: from community and behind the meter projects to larger scale onshore and offshore wind development. Conall founded, led and developed Cornwall Insight's Irish operations. He has worked with and advised policy makers and regulators in Ireland and Northern Ireland. He holds an MSc in Environmental Sustainability from the University of Edinburgh. His international renewables experience includes Poland, Canada and Great Britain.

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Donal Crean - Head of Asset Management - ESB Networks

Donal has continuously held Senior Management Positions in ESB Networks for the past 10 years. In that time he has been responsible for Network Asset Management, including the Network Planning, Network Operations and the Regulation and Commercial functions.  He has recently been responsible for the development of the overarching Networks Business Strategy.  Prior to working in ESB Networks he has held senior roles in ESB Generation with responsibilities covering Production Management and Delivery of a Large Programme of Capital projects.  He has been a Board Member of the Electricity Association of Ireland and he is an active member of the Eurelectric Distribution and Markets Committee.  He is an Electrical Engineer and holds a Masters Degree in Project Management.

Donal Crean

David Maguire - Chairman - ISEA

David is a Founder and Director of the BNRG Group. The Group develops, construction and is owner/operation of utility scale solar PV Parks. The Company has commissioned a significant portfolio of projects across Europe and the US with a value in excess of €300m and more recently has been developing projects in Australia. BNRG was the first company to gain planning permission for a utility scale solar project on the Island of Ireland and the first company to use crowdfunding to fund large scale ground mount solar projects. David is an environmental scientist by profession and holds Masters degrees from National University of Ireland and the University of Wales, in Environmental Sciences and Resource Management. Prior to renewable energy development, David held positions with the Environmental Protection Agency with responsibility for Research & Development. With over 22 years in the environmental and renewable energy sectors, he is consulted frequently on complex environmental and energy issues. David is a Founder of Alliance for Affordable Solar Energy 'AFASE' representing over 860 companies with a combined annual turnover of £26bn and employing over 86,000 people. In addition, David is a Founder of the Irish Solar Energy Association (ISEA) and has acted as Chairman since 2013.

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Donal Smith - Director - Switched In Consulting

Donal is a Connection policy specialist. He is a member of IWEA council and Chair of the IWEA Grid Committee. Donal was previously Grid Manager at Brookfield Renewable/Bord Gais Energy. Part of the senior development team since 2010 and responsible for connection of over 500MWs of wind generation assets.

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Eamonn Confrey - Principal Officer leading the Electricity Policy Division

Eamonn Confrey is the Principal Officer leading the Electricity Policy Division. His responsibilities include facilitating the growth of renewable electricity technologies to 2030; overseeing electricity infrastructure policy, including grid development; and building a sustainable community energy sector, all in pursuit of long term decarbonisation of the energy system.

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Eoin Hartigan - Head of Origination, Project Finance - Bank of Ireland

Eoin Hartigan is responsible for the origination of project finance transactions across the energy and infrastructure sectors.

Bank of Ireland is recognised as the leading Project Finance bank in the Irish market with substantial energy/wind/ solar and infrastructure/PPP portfolios.

Previously Eoin worked in the Global Leverage Acquisition Finance/ Global Project Finance team in the BOI Corporate Banking division and was a key member of the RBS/Ulster Banking Corporate Banking Project Finance team.

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Garrett Monaghan - Partner - Pinsent Masons (Ireland)

Garrett is one of the most active lawyers in the Irish energy sector and has been at the forefront of Irish renewables since the launch of REFiT in 2005. He advises sponsors, funders and investors on several inter-related disciplines including energy, project finance, M&A and emissions / carbon trading. As Head of Pinsent Masons Projects Practice on the island of Ireland, he has worked on several "pathfinder" energy projects across the solar, waste to energy, storage, onshore & offshore wind and interconnection sectors. Garrett has extensive international experience and is dual qualified in Ireland and England & Wales.

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Gary Connolly - Commercial Director - Activ8 Solar Energies

Academically trained in finance with a BBA in Business Finance, and practically in the trades through his family business. Gary began his position in Activ8 Energies as a Business Development Manager with duties to streamline the working processes within the company. After one year, this progressed to becoming the General Manager of Activ8's first venture into the Solar PV world, through its sister company Solar NI.

Having successfully managed Solar NI, helping it claim prestigious installation accolades, Solar NI also became the Activ8 Groups first experience of PPA's and other solar financial instruments that had become the norm in a high tariff Solar PV environment. The reduction of these tariffs seen Solar NI consolidate back into the Activ8 parent company where Gary is now the Commercial Manager, heading up the finance, tendering and commercial prospecting for Activ8.

Skilled in Asset Management, Fund Administration, Mutual Funds, Management, and Hedge Funds. Strong sales professional with a BBA in Finance focused in Financial Markets, Accounting, Statistics from The University of Memphis.

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Gavin Blake - Partner - ByrneWallace

Gavin has over fourteen years' experience advising clients in the energy sector, in particular in relation to wind farm projects but also extending to projects in the fields of solar PV, energy storage, bioenergy, hydro, auto-production, conventional power, AD and CHP. He works with developers, funders and investors from the securing of land rights and consenting phase right through to project finance and construction. Gavin also regularly acts in the acquisition and disposal of renewable electricity projects, both at development stage and operational stage.

Prior to joining ByrneWallace LLP, Gavin was Partner in the Energy and Natural Resources team of another large Irish law firm. Gavin was also previously company secretary of a multi-national renewable energy developer.

Gavin is the current honorary secretary and a director of the Irish Solar Energy Association and through his active involvement with this organisation is very much at the cutting edge in terms of current and ongoing developments and changes affecting the Irish renewable electricity sector.

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Hariram Subramanian - CTO - Huawei FusionSolar Smart PV Solution

Hariram Subramanian is CTO of the Huawei FusionSolar Smart PV Solution - Europe and is also responsible for large utility scale power plant design and grid integration. He received his Master's degree in Electrical Engineering in Germany in 2005, and an MBA degree in International business and strategy from Germany and an executive MBA from the Leeds, UK in 2012.

Before being named to his current role at Huawei, he has held R&D, Product Management and senior technical solution sales positions at PV inverter manufacturing companies. He has worked extensively in the Energy conversion technology field as a senior R&D engineer, especially in the field of control engineering for power electronics and PV Grid Integration. He then moved into techno-commercial and product management roles in the solar inverter industry focusing on utility scale PV projects. He has in total 15 years of experience in the energy conversion business. His interests are Grid integration of Renewables, New PV system Architectures, Applications with innovative power electronics systems like EV and Data Center Power Delivery.

Hariram Subramanian

Gerhard Heyl - Director - PV Green Energy Savings

Gerhard is a self-motivated, driven solar PV professional who is dedicated to influencing and supporting Ireland's renewable energy infrastructure in a concerted effort to help reduce the national carbon footprint. Gerhard in Founder and Managing Director of PV Green Energy, an organisation that has been providing the Irish homeowner with solar energy solutions for over a decade.

A key member of the steering committee that consulted with HomeBond, SEAI and Safe Electric in establishing a knowledge base and better understanding about PV, he now is a Board Member of the Irish Solar Energy Association and Leads the working group Behind the Meter who are tasked with developing a consultation document to help senior politicians understand the challenges for homeowners to in adopting a cleaner, greener home with solar PV.

Originally from Pretoria, South Africa Gerhard now prides himself in not only delivering solar PV to the Irish homeowner but also being influential in bringing Distributed Generation to the fore and sharing his knowledge and experience with his peers and colleagues. In addition, Gerhard is a big supporter of the rollout of EV's in Ireland and Chairs a number of Committees designed primarily to help the Irish consumer and business leader understand the challenges, benefits and opportunities available in adopting a EV community.

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Hannah Staab - Head of Advisory, Europe - Natural Power

Hannah leads Natural Power's European Advisory team, delivering due diligence and strategic advisory services for solar, wind and battery storage projects to major European and international clients. She holds specialist expertise in portfolio optimisation and hybrid project feasibility and modelling. Hannah has been active in the renewable energy industry since 2012 as she worked as a technical manager for a leading global renewables developer before joining Natural Power.

Company profile:

Natural Power is an independent consultancy and service provider that supports a global client base in the effective delivery of a wide range of renewable projects including solar, onshore wind, energy storage, renewable heat and offshore technologies.  It has a global reach, employing more than 400 staff across 13 international offices.  Its experience extends across all phases of the project lifecycle from initial feasibility, through construction to operations and throughout all stages of the transaction cycle.

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Hugh Mullany - Managing Director - Mullany Energy

Hugh is an independent energy consultant in Ireland, with experience dating continuously in the sector back to 2003. With a PhD in biomedical engineering, Hugh's track record in the energy industry requires a continued willingness to learn and adapt to new areas as the need arises. Starting with a role with the Transmission System Operator back in 2003 (ancillary services, locational signals, demand response), the focus of his consultancy has evolved with the opportunities and activity in the all-island electricity and gas industry.

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James Delahunt - Director - KPMG Corporate Finance

James is a Director within KPMG's corporate finance team and leads the Renewables M&A and Financing service line of KPMG Sustainable Futures - KPMG's dedicated climate change, decarbonisation and ESG advisory team. James has advised on over 25 international and domestic energy transactions in recent years involving over 3GW of projects. As part of his work James advises developers, investors, government departments and corporates on the energy transition.

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Jim Hughes - Director - Fehily Timoney Company

Jim is the Director responsible for the Energy and Planning Department. Jim is a Qualified Town and Environmental Planner with over 17 years' post qualification planning experience in both the private and public sector. He has extensive experience in EIA and in providing strategic level planning advice to clients and negotiating with and presenting to Planning Authorities and An Bord Pleanála. He is also experienced in peer review and preparation of independent planning assessments and appraisals on behalf of clients. He is the Project Director responsible for renewable energy projects and urban development projects at various stages of development, from inception to planning and permitting, through to construction. Jim has extensive experience in all aspects of planning and is currently leading a number of high profile EIA projects and master planning projects throughout the Country ranging from Renewable Energy, Airport Infrastructure, Commercial, Residential and Tourism proposals.

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John Carty - Director - EnerPower

Experienced renewable energy project director with strong strategic perspective, commercial awareness, technical understanding and outstanding communication skills. PhD in carbon emissions and sustainable development from University College Dublin.

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Karen Doyle - Relationship Director - Ulster Bank

Experienced Corporate Banking Specialist with a demonstrated history of working across a number of specialist sectors in the banking industry. Skilled in Business Development, New Business Origination, Financial Modelling, Debt Structuring, Debt Distribution & Syndication, Legal Documentation Negotiation, Business Relationship Management, Risk Management, Corporate Finance, and Credit Analysis.

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Kevin O'Donovan - Managing Director - Statkraft Ireland

Kevin is responsible for the Statkraft's renewable energy projects in Ireland.

Statkraft is a leading company in renewable energy internationally and Europe's largest generator of renewable energy. The Group produces hydropower, wind power, solar power, gas-fired power and supplies district heating. Statkraft is also a global company in energy market operations. Statkraft has 4,000 employees in 16 countries. Last year, it produced 62 terawatt hours of electricity, enough to supply more than 60 million homes, 98 per cent of which came from renewable sources.

Ireland is one of the selected new growth markets for Statkraft. The company employs over 55 people here who are developing a large portfolio of renewable energy technologies including onshore wind farms, solar farms, offshore wind farms and battery projects as well as a market trading business.

In 2018, Statkraft acquired 100 per cent of the shares in Element Power's Irish business. The company's global ambition is to increase its portfolio of wind power assets to 6,000 MW and solar power assets to 2,000 MW by 2025.

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Eoin Kennedy - Head of Future Operations - EirGrid Group

Eoin Kennedy is Head of Future Operations at EirGrid Group. In this role, he is responsible for delivering the DS3 Programme as well as leading a new programme to develop and put in place the operational systems, tools, services and policies required to operate the Ireland and Northern Ireland power system in 2030. Eoin holds a PhD in Electronic Engineering from Dublin City University and an MBA from UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School.

Repro Free 23/10/2012: Pictured at the MBA Careers head shots - Day 3 was Eoin Kennedy. Picture Jason Clarke Photography.

Michele Schiavone - Director for Ireland and Offshore Wind - EDF Renewables

Michele is Director for Offshore Wind and Ireland at EDF Renewables UK and Ireland, with responsibility for the development and delivery of EDF Renewables' offshore wind portfolio in UK and Irish waters, as well as onshore technologies in Ireland.

Michele has over 20 years' experience in renewable technologies, spanning business development, M&A and project finance. He holds a degree in economics from Bocconi University in Milan.

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Oisín Coghlan - CEO - Friends of the Earth Ireland

Oisín Coghlan has been Director of Friends of the Earth since 2005. He co-founded the Stop Climate Chaos Coalition in 2007 and the Environmental Pillar in 2009, and led the 14-year campaign for a climate law which culminated in the passing of the Climate Action Act 2021. He is the current chair of Coalition 2030, the Irish civil society coalition for the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Before joining Friends of the Earth, Oisín worked in global solidarity and human rights, including 2 years as a community organizer among banana workers in Belize, and 3 years for Christian Aid on aid, trade and Palestine.

Oisín's primary degree was Politics and Sociology in Trinity College Dublin and he has a Masters in International Relations from DCU.

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Peter Kavanagh - Director - Highfield Energy Services Ltd

Highfield Energy is a leading developer of renewable and clean-energy projects, with projects in Ireland and  overseas. Our development pipeline includes utility-scale wind and solar photovoltaic generation, stand-alone and co-located battery storage projects.

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Ray O'Neill - MD - Fincovi

Ray is the MD of Fincovi, a specialist in financial asset management services and software. Fincovi, as part of the global SkySpecs family, is building the "intelligent" middle-office, automating financial administration of assets and enabling forecasting cash with confidence, so that fewer people can manage more assets at higher profits. Before Fincovi, Ray was an Investment Director at BVP, Head of CleanTech and Energy at AIB and Business Development Manager at CSIRO's Energy Division, commercialising new renewable energy technologies in the US & APAC.

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Rebecca McManus - Associate - Aurora

Rebecca leads the Ireland Power Markets research team at Aurora, providing valuable intelligence on Ireland's energy transformation through forecasts, reports, forums and advisory services.

While at Aurora, Rebecca has:

  • Been instrumental in driving Aurora's expansion into Ireland, developing a diverse market intelligence subscriber group consisting of regulators, utilities, financiers and developers
  • Led Aurora's influential research into Ireland's critical policy issues including the DS3 system services, Climate Action Plan targets and RESS auctions
  • Advised clients on bidding strategies for Ireland's first competitive system services auctions and renewable auctions
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Robert Goss - Director - Solar Electric

Robert started out in Solar as M.D . of Conergy UK. That company grew from 1 to 55 staff between 2010 ad 2015. Conergy UK were a full-service EPC contractor and occasional developer for utility scale solar. In 2014 and 2015 200 MW was built across England and South Wales - the latter having very similar conditions to Republic of Ireland.

In 2015 Robert left Conergy to join Tom Foley as Director and co-owner at Solar Electric, in time for the expected explosion in demand over here. In a small market we enjoyed success with the Defence Forces and other key clients some of whom were funded in part by SEAI. 2020 was primed to be the year of huge growth for the rooftop sector but a certain virus made life difficult across all construction sectors and resulted in postponed plans in many businesses.

In 2021 Pinergy took a controlling stake in Solar Electric. Robert remains on the board . He is looking forward to harnessing the synergies of an innovative electricity retailer together with the Solar Electric offer across domestic, agricultural and commercial sectors.

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Rory Mullan - Senior Consultant & Director - Mullan Grid Consulting

Rory Mullan is a senior consultant and director of Mullan Grid Consulting. A qualified Electrical Engineer, Rory has worked in the Irish Electricity Industry for over 15 years in various commercial and technical roles in utility and consultancy sectors.

Rory is also a member of the IWEA council and the IWEA, NIRIG & ISEA Grid Committee.

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Ryan Howard - Chief Executive - SECAD Partnership

Ryan is Chief Executive with SECAD Partnership, a rural development NGO located in the town of Midleton, on the South Coast of Ireland.  Over the past two decades Ryan has managed a team of community and sustainable development experts to enable linkages between public and private investors and local community-based beneficiaries involved in sustainable and rural development.  Public investors include a range of European Commission initiatives and EU Programmes, Irish Government Department supports and Local Authority project investments.

Since 2015 SECAD have managed Community Benefit Funds for a growing portfolio of renewable energy projects building up a range of new supports designed specifically to maximise the use and impact of these funds.  From 2021 SECAD will begin working with solar energy producers across Ireland to support them to manage, distribute and report on their Community Benefit Funds.

SECAD has experience working with local community panels, offering fully accredited on-line application and information management systems and can guide communities to access additional funds to increase the scale and impact of their Community Benefit Funds.  Ryan will be discussing these supports and experiences at the Solar Ireland 2021 Conference.

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Saul Griffith - Founder and Chief Scientist at Otherlab, Founder and Chief Scientist at Rewiring America

Saul Griffith is an engineer and inventor. He is Founder and Chief Scientist at Rewiring America, a non-profit dedicated to fighting climate change, creating jobs, cleaning the air, and saving the future for our children by electrifying everything. As Founder and Chief Scientist at Otherlab, an independent R&D lab, he helps government agencies and Fortune 500 companies understand energy infrastructure and deep decarbonization. He's been a principal investigator and project lead on federally-funded research projects for agencies including NASA, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-e), National Science Foundation and United States Special Operations Command (SOCOM). He was awarded the MacArthur "Genius Grant" in 2007. Saul's new book, Electrify, will be out from MIT Press in October.

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Siddharth Joshi - PhD Student, Energy Policy and Modelling Group, MaREI, UCC, Cork

Siddharth Joshi is a final year PhD student in MaREI, the SFI Research Centre for Energy, Climate and Marine at University College Cork, Ireland. His research focuses on the use of high-performance computing and machine learning frameworks for global high-resolution spatiotemporal supply and demand modelling in energy systems. Before his PhD he worked as Head of R&D at a telemedicine start-up, business consultant and instrumentation engineer in oil and natural gas sector. He holds a MEngSc in Sustainable Energy from University College Cork and BE in Electronics, Instrumentation and Control from Thapar University, India. His research interests include the application of big-data, nature inspired machine learning architectures and Geographic Information Systems in tackling the real-world problems associated with the supply and demand estimation in the energy system models. He is also affiliated to The International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Austria.

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Siobhan McCabe - Partner - Philip Lee

Siobhan McCabe is a partner and leads the energy team at Philip Lee. Siobhan has been actively involved in the energy sector for over 15 years, with a particular focus on renewable energy projects. Siobhan has extensive experience advising energy clients on project development (from inception to commissioning), acquisitions, joint ventures and regulatory matters.

Siobhan is a highly regarded legal practitioner in the energy sector and advises on projects spanning the energy market spectrum, including: solar, onshore wind, offshore wind, biomass, battery energy storage, electric vehicles and new technologies. She acts for developers, funders, large energy users, suppliers and investors.

Siobhan remains at the fore in advising on unique energy projects, including recently on the establishment of a number of Renewable Energy Communities and other novel structures being developed under the Clean Energy Package.

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Dr Tanya Harrington - Chief Regulatory Affairs Officer - An Post

Dr. Tanya Harrington is a public policy and regulatory affairs professional with over 20 years' experience in helping organisations drive the effectiveness and performance of their policy-focused teams. Tanya currently serves as An Post's Chief Regulatory Affairs Officer, leading the development of the Company's comprehensive and integrated regulatory strategy and leading An Post's engagement with government and regulatory authorities and stakeholders at international, European and domestic levels.

Before joining An Post, Tanya spent six years in consultancy, advising a range of Ireland's largest companies on matters of public policy, government affairs and economic regulation across a range of economically regulated sectors. Prior to her consulting work, Tanya was Director of the NTR Foundation, the corporate foundation of NTR plc - a leading investor and asset manager of renewable energy projects, with a specific focus on wind energy.

These positions built on Tanya's considerable experience of public policy formation, developed through her work as Ministerial Advisor at the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources and the Department of Transport. In her early career, Tanya was Head of Energy Policy at business representative group Ibec, a policy analyst at the Institute of International and European Affairs, and researcher at the European Commission's Directorate General for Trade in Brussels.

Tanya holds a BA (Hons.) in German and History from University College Dublin, and an MSSc. in European Integration and a Doctorate in Governance, both awarded by Queen's University Belfast.

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William Walsh - Chief Executive Officer - SEAI

William Walsh is Chief Executive Officer in SEAI, having previously held the position of both Chief Operations Officer and Chief Financial Officer. William joined SEAI 2013. Prior to joining SEAI he worked for IFI where he held a number of roles including Assistant Chief Executive Officer and Director. Prior to that he held senior management positions in the private sector. William is a Chartered Accountant, holds a Bachelor of Business Studies from Dublin City University and a Graduate Diploma in Strategy, Innovation and Change from UCD.

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