Learn more about our guest speakers who will deliver talks at the inaugural National Energy Research and Policy Conference 2019.

Dr Phil Hemmingway

Head of Low Carbon Technologies, SEAI

Dr. Phil Hemmingway is a member of SEAI’s Senior Management Team, and Head of the SEAI Low Carbon Technologies Department. He is jointly responsible for a range of research & innovation, behavioural economics, modelling, statistics and technology policy & innovation activities in support of SEAI’s vision for Ireland’s energy to be sustainable, secure, affordable and clean. 

Phil is Ireland’s representative to Europe’s Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SETPlan); Ireland’s representative on the International Energy Agency’s Committee on Energy Research & Technology (CERT); Ireland’s Technology Delegate to the UNFCC and Ireland’s National Delegate for the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 Energy Programme Committee. He also represents SEAI on Ireland’s National Climate Action High Level Steering Group; Innovation 2020 Steering Group; and Horizon 202 High Level Group. 

Phil is a Chartered Engineer and hold Bachelors (engineering) & Doctoral (energy) degrees from UCD.  



Richard Bruton TD

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (DCCAE)

Richard Bruton TD was appointed Minister of Communications, Climate Action & Environment on 16 October 2018 having previously served as Minister of Education and Skills in the current Government.

Richard was Minister for Enterprise and Employment from 1994 to 1997 when 1,000 jobs a week were being created in Ireland. He served as Minister of State at the Department of Industry and Commerce, from 1986 to 1987.

Richard was first elected to Dáil Éireann for Dublin North Central in 1982, having previously been a member of the Senate and a Local Authority. He has had wide experience in the Fine Gael Front Bench, holding eight different portfolios including Finance, Education and Science, Employment, Economic Planning and Public Sector Reform. He also held the post of Director of Policy.

Richard is a research economist by profession, and worked as an economist before entering politics in the private sector and with the ESRI.

Dr Eleanor Denny

Associate Professor, Trinity College Dublin

Eleanor Denny is an Associate Professor at the Economics Department at Trinity College Dublin and is a Fellow of Trinity College Dublin (FTCD).  She was a visiting scholar at the Harvard Environmental Economics Programme for 2014/2015 and is a non-resident fellow of the Colorado School of Mines. She is involved in a number of European Commission funded research projects including as coordinator of the Horizon 2020 project CONSEED.   Her research interests are in energy and behavioural economics and she has published widely in these areas.

Dr Muireann Lynch

Research Officer, Economic & Social Research Institute (ESRI)

Muireann Lynch is a Research Officer in the Economic Analysis division of the Economic and Social Research Institute. She joined the Institute in 2014. Muireann holds a degree in Mathematics and Economics from Trinity College Dublin and a PhD from the School of Electronic and Electrical Engineering in UCD. She has published numerous research articles in diverse areas of energy economics and has co-authored submissions to various public consultations and Government Departments. Muireann is also a Funded Investigator with the Energy Systems Integration Partnership Programme and coordinates emerging research focused on the modelling and integration of electricity, gas, heat and water systems. Muireann’s research interests include electricity market regulation, power system economics and renewable generation integration and her research methodologies include stochastic mathematical programming, optimisation and game theory.


Dr Paul Deane

Research Fellow, University College Cork

Paul Deane is a research fellow specializing in Energy and Climate Policy with the MaREI Centre in University College Cork. He has been working in the energy industry for approximately 15 years in both commercial and academic research. His research activities include integrated energy systems modelling to assess whole system pathways and policies to low carbon futures. Paul is a member of a number of European multidisciplinary think-tanks and scientific advisor to European energy projects. He is an active contributor to European policy thinking on renewable energy.


Aoife MacEvilly

Commissioner, Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU)

Aoife MacEvilly has been a member of the Commission since October 2014. Her lead responsibilities within the CRU include gas, energy consumers and smart metering. This includes gas networks, European Integration and security of supply. The energy consumer portfolio includes the National Smart Metering Programme, the Customer Care Team, electricity and gas retail markets, pricing, disconnections and retail market monitoring. Aoife previously worked in the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources in energy regulation and security roles.


John Young

Head of Policy - Ireland, SSE Ireland

John is Head of Policy in Ireland and Northern Ireland for SSE, the largest operator and owner of wind generation capacity in the SEM. He works across the sector on all policy-related matters, with a particular focus on decarbonisation and the development of offshore wind in Ireland. John previously worked for EirGrid, primarily on the facilitation of increasing levels of renewables on the grid, as well as for National Grid, the GB system operator.

Sharon Finegan

Head of Climate change unit, Dept of the Taoiseach

Sharon Finegan is currently Head of the Climate Action Unit in the Department of the Taoiseach. Prior to this she was Secretary to the Citizens’ Assembly from 2016-2018. She has spent the majority of her career working in the Department of the Taoiseach where she has held a number of roles including Head of Protocol, Head of Economic Policy and Deputy Director of the Northern Ireland and International Division. She also worked in the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport. She holds a Master’s Degree in Economic Policy Studies from Trinity College Dublin and a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the National University of Ireland, Galway.

Ken Cleary

Assistant Principal, Climate Change Unit, Department of Public Expenditure and Reform

Ken is the assistant principal in the climate change unit of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. Before that, he was Assistant Principal Officer at the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment where he has worked in the energy efficiency division for over three years. He has also served as First Secretary at the Irish Embassy in Singapore.  He was educated at Dublin City University and Trinity College Dublin.


Dr Lucy Corcoran

Programme Executive, Research, Development & Demonstration, SEAI

Lucy Corcoran works on delivery of the SEAI National Energy Research, Development and Demonstration (RD&D) Funding Programme, which supports innovative energy RD&D projects that contribute to Ireland’s transition to a clean and secure energy future. Lucy represents Ireland on Europe’s Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SETPlan) Steering Group, and represents SEAI on the National Climate Research Coordination Group. Lucy is also the National Contact Point for the European Commission co-funded ERA-Net Smart Energy Systems initiative.

Lucy is an engineer with ten years’ experience in the energy sector, across industry and academia. She holds a BAI (Engineering) and PhD (Hydropower Energy Recovery) from Trinity College Dublin, and is a graduate of the UCD-TCD-QUB Innovation Academy (Innovation and Entrepreneurship).

Diarmaid Gillespie

Head of System Support, EirGrid Group

Diarmaid Gillespie has been with EirGrid for 18 years and has held a number of senior leadership positions in areas such as System Protection, Near Time Operations and Real Time Operations including the National Control Centre. Diarmaid is currently part of the Operations, Planning and Innovation leadership team and his responsibilities include system services and constraint management, grid commissioning and testing of generators, and power system restoration. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree and Master’s Degree in Electronic Engineering from University College Dublin.

Dr Lisa Ryan

Lecturer & Researcher at University College Dublin

Lisa is a lecturer in energy economics in UCD School of Economics and energy economics research lead at the UCD Energy Institute. She carries out research in clean energy technology adoption, energy markets, and climate change economics and related policy. She was the senior energy economist in the Energy Efficiency Unit at the International Energy Agency (IEA) in Paris until summer 2013 where she led projects relating to energy efficiency finance, transport, and cross-sectoral energy policy. She subsequently worked as an independent consultant in energy and environmental economics. Lisa has a PhD in environmental economics from University College Dublin (UCD), and other postgraduate and undergraduate degrees in economics and engineering from UCD and Colorado School of Mines, USA.  

Prof Tony Day

Executive Director, International Energy Research Centre

Professor Tony Day BEng, PhD, CEng, FCIBSE, FEI

Tony is the Executive Directive of the International Energy Research Centre (IERC), based at the Tyndall National Institute in Cork, Ireland. The Centre is a partnership between government and industry to undertake innovative research in integrated energy solutions, focussing on the demand side and energy efficiency. Prior to this he worked for 20 years at London South Bank University (LSBU) in teaching and research, with a short spell in industry as Energy Services Director with TEAM (EAA Ltd). He has conducted research and published widely in the areas of building energy analysis and the application of low
and zero carbon technologies in the urban environment. Tony is a Fellow of both CIBSE and the Energy Institute.


Julie O'Neill

Chairperson of the SEAI Board

Julie is proprietor of Join the Dots, an independent strategic management consultancy. She served as Secretary General at the Department of Transport from 2002 to 2009 and, in the course of her public service career, worked in eight Government Departments. She is a board member of Ryanair, Permanent TSB
and also the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA). She holds an MSc in Policy Analysis from Trinity College Dublin and a B. Comm from UCD.


Prof Andrew Keane

Head of the Energy Institute, University College Dublin

Andrew Keane is Director of the Energy Institute at University College Dublin. Andrew is Lead Investigator of the SFI Energy Systems Integration Partnership Programme, a research programme which brings together multiple disciplines to address research challenges facing the energy sector, in particular as we move towards decarbonisation of our energy systems. Andrew's research interests include the impact of new energy resources on the power system from the residential network up to the high voltage transmission system. Current research topics focus upon the impact and opportunities presented by renewable and distributed energy resources on the electrical network. He has published over 100 peer reviewed publications, including over 50 papers in leading journals.


Eamonn Confrey

Electricity Policy Principal Officer, DCCAE

Eamonn Confrey is the Principal Officer, Electricity Policy Division of the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment (DCCAE), where he is responsible for promoting the sustainability of electricity supply and demand, and facilitating the growth of renewable electricity technologies to 2020, in line with the National Renewable Energy Action Plan. He was previously head of the Energy Security Division and has served in various roles within the Department.


Dr Rory Monaghan

Principal Investigator, National University of Ireland Galway

Dr Rory Monaghan is the Lecturer of Energy Engineering in the School of Engineering at the National University of Ireland Galway (NUI Galway). He is a Principal Investigator in the NUI Galway Ryan Institute, a Funded Investigator in MaREI, the SFI Research Centre for Energy, Climate and Marine, and the Director of the Energy Engineering Programme at NUI Galway. Rory has been researching hydrogen since 2003, when he commenced his graduated studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has won €1.8 million in competitive funding for sustainable energy research in the fields of hydrogen, renewable gas, bioenergy conversion technologies and computational modelling. Rory currently leads the Long-Term Effects work package of the €9.3 million GenComm project, which is funded by the EU Interreg North West Europe Programme. GenComm brings together 10 partners in five countries and aims to demonstrate the role of hydrogen as a feasible means of storing and using renewable energy at community scale when it would otherwise be wasted. Rory is a Board member of Hydrogen Ireland and the founding Chair of the Community Hydrogen Forum.


Jim Scheer

Head of Policy Insights Department, SEAI

Jim is responsible for SEAI’s policy insights and design support, covering statistics, energy modelling and behavioural economics. He joined SEAI in 2007 and prior to that worked for the Government of South Australia. Jim holds a MSc. in Economic Policy Studies from Trinity College Dublin and a primary degree in Environmental Science from Flinders University (South Australia). 

Michael Walsh

Managing Director – Europe, Smart Wires

Based in Dublin, Ireland, Michael is responsible for leading the Smart Wires business in the Europe Region. Prior to joining Smart Wires, he was Director of Future Grids at Ireland’s Transmission System Operator, EirGrid, where he was responsible for planning the transmission system on the island of Ireland and bringing new technologies into its grid development strategy. He was a member of ENTSO-E’s System Development Committee which oversees the planning of the European transmission system. Before that he was Chief Executive of the Irish Wind Energy Association and a board member of Wind Europe. Other previous roles include Manager of Market readiness at ESB National Grid and a lecturer in Electronic Engineering at University College Dublin, Ireland. Michael is a Fellow of Engineers Ireland and a member of the board of the Energy Institute at UCD. He holds a BE, MBA and PhD and has authored many peer reviewed papers and advised a wide variety of international bodies.


Dr Susan Rea

Principal Investigator, Cork Institute of Technology

Dr. Susan Rea is a principal investigator at the Nimbus Centre at CIT where her current research interests focus on IoT & CPS, specifically embedded infrastructure management using distributed ledger technology and cybersecurity for large scale next generation networks. She has been involved in a number of international and national research projects in the area of energy management. She is currently serving as a Co-PI on the DigiBlocks project funded by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland under the SEAI Research, Development & Demonstration Funding Programme 2018, Grant Number 18/RDD/262. DigiBlocks investigates the application of Blockchain technology to district scale energy services in order to provide a trusted mechanism for data provenance, traceability and verification. In addition she drives client engagement and support for EU funding acquisition to support the research activities of the Nimbus Centre, securing funding from National and EU sources (SFI, SEAI, H2020).

Susan will present during the ERA-Net SES workshop on her perspectives on digitalisation and the energy transition


Dr Alan McGibney

Research Fellow, Cork Institute of Technology

Dr. Alan McGibney was awarded his PhD in Electronic Engineering from CIT in October 2008.  His current research focus is on the convergence of digital technologies such as IoT, Blockchain and Machine Learning to support digital transformation.  The objective is to bridge the gap between the digital and physical worlds through enabling technologies that support the deployment, integration, management and verification for large-scale distributed applications in industrial sectors such as Smart Cities, Industry 4.0 and Energy.

Alan leads EU funding acquisition and has held scientific and technical management roles in H2020 programme projects including H2020 TOPAs (creating an IoT based Open Building Management System), and INSPEX (Context-Aware Interaction for Visually Impaired and Blind). He is currently co-PI on the SEAI funded project called DigiBlocks which is focused on the application of Distributed Ledger Technology as a governance structure for future Smart Energy Communities

Alan will present during the ERA-Net SES workshop on his perspectives on digitalisation and the energy transition