A steering group of 12 influential women keeps our EWiRE network and overall programme on track, with two formal steering group meetings per year, as well as informal consultations.

Cheryl Hiles, energy and environment sector director, Pell Frischmann

Cheryl Hiles chairs our Entrepreneurial Women in Renewable Energy steering group which provides strategic direction to the network. All of our steering group help to integrate the work of our network with others to ensure that we add value and Cheryl provides a link to the Powerful Women Network, where she is part of the Powerful Connections mentoring programme.

After 14 years at Regen, Cheryl has moved on from her role as strategy director at Regen to join Pell Frischmann design engineering consultancy as their director for energy and environment, where she is developing their business strategy and growing the profile and impact of the company’s work in these sectors.

Whilst at Regen, Cheryl provided market insight, policy and future energy scenario analysis, and energy strategy advice to companies, regulated business, charities, local authorities and central government. Cheryl is a specialist in spatial planning, distributed energy and stakeholder engagement. She has initiated and driven forward several initiatives to support the growth of the sustainable energy sector and improve the planning environment for sustainable energy across England and Wales.

Cheryl began her career as the planning and environmental policy advisor at the South West Regional Assembly where she worked on a wide variety of policy areas including energy, environmental, transport, housing and social policy, and was instrumental in setting up Regen SW. Cheryl is an economist and geographer by background and is motivated by bringing these two elements together to support the development of low-carbon, climate-resilient economies.  She holds an MSc in Sustainable Environmental Management where she completed a thesis on the insurance industry’s response to climate change.

Alongside her day job Cheryl is;

  • a founding director of the community interest company, Communities for Renewables CIC which develops and invests in renewable energy projects for the benefit of the local community
  • a project board member of the Fit for the Future Network, a network of organisations from the not-for-profit sector and beyond, working together to become climate-friendly, adaptive and resilient, chaired by Sir Ed Davey
  • a director of Mendip Renewables, a community solar asset owner
  • a school governor for the Raleigh Federation and chair of the teaching and learning committee.

Bernice Roberts, director and principal environmental planner, The Landmark Practice

Bernice is a Director of The Landmark Practice, where she heads up the planning team and is responsible for all renewable energy output. She has led on planning and EIA developments in a variety of renewables sectors, including wind, solar and energy from waste schemes across England and Wales. She has won the RTPI Environmental Planning and Protection Award, in recognition of her work to deliver the Bristol Port Company’s wind turbines, and also contributes to training for planners, developers and community groups, and under and post graduate students. Bernice is a firm advocate of equality in the workplace, demonstrated by Landmark’s preponderance of energetic female consultants (plus equally valued male colleagues!) and of ensuring career progression and a fair work life balance for all staff.

Liz Dunn, partner, Burges Salmon

Liz Dunn is a Planning Partner at Burges Salmon, specialising in renewable energy. Chambers 2014 says she is respected throughout the field for her extensive expertise in renewables projects. Sources praise her “attention to detail, quick turnaround, and ability to get to the heart of the matter quickly and give sound advice.”  Liz started her career working in the theatre and retrained as a solicitor when her children were young. She is one of four planning partners at Burges Salmon with a team of twelve lawyers. Liz advises on a wide range of renewables projects, consenting the first offshore wind farm under the Planning Act regime for nationally significant infrastructure projects and advising extensively on onshore wind, biomass and anaerobic digestion. She is a member of Renewable UK’s Cymru strategy group and regularly speaks on consenting issues for renewables projects.

Maria Connolly, partner, TLT

Maria is head of TLT’s Energy and Renewables team and is rated by Legal 500 as outstanding. Maria has significant expertise in renewable energy projects, particularly in relation to wind, solar PV, hydro, AD and biomass. She acts for lenders and developers in relation to property matters, including acquisitions of existing renewable energy projects, drafting bespoke documentation, negotiation of exclusivity agreements, option agreements and leases and undertaking full due diligence. Maria has acted in relation to over 100 large scale wind projects and was at the forefront of advising developers and lenders in relation to solar PV, including one of the first to market with plain English solar PV documentation, which has been rolled out to thousands of installations nationally, as well as dealing with some of the largest solar arrays in the UK. Maria is independently recognised as an expert in energy & natural resources: renewables & alternative energy by Chambers UK, a guide to the legal profession.

Dr Nina Skorupska, chief executive, REA

Dr Nina Skorupska has over 25 years in the Energy Industry; Nina’s career began as a fuel specialist, but moved quickly onto power stations, which led to her being appointed as the first female Power Station Manager of RWE npower. Since that time, she has led a UK Energy Trading team for RWE, followed by being RWE npower’s Director of Technology Services. She has worked in Germany as RWE Group’s Director of Performance Improvement, where she went on to save them over 2 bn Euros on operating costs. From May 2010 until the end of 2012, as Chief Technology Officer, she was an executive member of the Board of Essent N.V., the Netherlands’ largest energy company, and responsible for Essent’s Generation portfolio and new energy developments. In 2012, Nina became a Supervisory Board member for DNV GL Energy in the Netherlands, a position that she continues to enjoy today. In July 2013, Nina took the helm of the Renewable Energy Association as its Chief Executive. In 2014, Nina joined the Board of Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) and has recently been voted onto the Board of the European Renewable Energies Foundation (EREF).

Tess Sundelin, managing director, Green Hedge Renewables

Tess co-heads the management team at Green Hedge Group, a group of companies focused on the development, financing and operation of utility scale solar PV farms in the UK. The group includes Green Hedge Renewables plc (formerly AEE Renewables plc), one of the most established solar PV developers in the UK, and Green Hedge Solar Operations Ltd, an experienced provider of operation and maintenance services. In addition to her role in general management of the Group, Tess leads the teams specifically responsible for project sales and solar park operations. Prior to Green Hedge, Tess worked at Goldman Sachs, where she focused on structuring and execution of funding products, and liquidity risk management. She holds a BSc in Government and Economics and an MPA in Public and Economic Policy from the London School of Economics.

Sue Barr, environment and external affairs manager, OpenHydro

Sue Barr is the External Affairs Manager for OpenHydro, a tidal technology developer. Following an early career in marine science supporting the offshore oil and gas industry, Sue joined a team of scientific advisors to the UK Government working on the first offshore wind arrays. Her work included early marine spatial planning, revision of maritime legislation, project development and advisory roles to UK Ministers on the first wave and tidal energy projects in UK waters. With 14 years’ experience of developing both the offshore wind energy and wet renewables industries, Sue has led on project development, policy, lobbying and the emergence of a marine renewables industry, both in the UK and internationally. A senior executive in OpenHydro and a qualified marine scientist, Sue represents OpenHydro externally, working with customers and regulators on managing project development. She plays a key role in driving renewable industry policy in the marine area, in the UK and internationally. A director of the largest tidal energy project in the UK, Sue also contributes to several national and international working groups on marine renewable energy policy, site selection, project development, and regulatory control of marine renewable projects.

Claudia Richard, communications manager, Renewable Energy Generation

Claudia has been working in environmental communications since 2008. She joined Renewable Energy Generation in 2013 as a Communications Manager, responsible for stakeholder and community engagement, public relations, and community benefit schemes for solar, wind and bio-power projects across the UK. In her spare time, Claudia volunteers with the Girls’ Network to help mentor girls in high school entering the professional world and coaches the girls’ programme for Broomwood FC Football Club.

Louise Wilson, co-founder and director, Abundance

Louise Wilson is a co-founder and joint MD of Abundance, which provides long-term debt capital to infrastructure projects and regular capital and income to investors. With a current focus on renewables, both heat and energy, and on efficiency, Abundance lets individuals, both local and national, invest directly in specific projects of their choice from as little as £5. Abundance has launched fund-raisings for 12 projects for a total of £11.5m.

Ellen Rodger, head of marketing and sales operations , SC Innovation

As Sector Lead for Energy at SC Innovation, Ellen is responsible for business development and strategic growth, building strong relationships with new and existing clients to deliver high quality, innovative engineering and design solutions within the energy sector. Prior to joining SC Innovation, Ellen was the Managing Director of SunGift Solar Ltd, where she worked for 8 years, helping the company to grow into an award winning £10 million+ turnover business with a strong reputation for excellence. In 2013, she won the South West IOD Young Director of the Year award and in 2015 the South West Inspirational Woman of the Year Venus award.

Tanya Davies, head of development, Innogy Renewables (UK) Ltd

Tanya leads a team developing wind projects throughout the UK. Tanya is a Chartered Town Planner with nearly 20 year’s experience who started her career in minerals and waste planning and moved into the wind industry in 2003. Since then she has primarily worked in Development, initially developing her own projects and then managing the Welsh and now UK teams. Under her leadership, the innogy team were the first to submit and consent onshore wind farms through the NSIP process and the only utility to successfully win CfD’s in the first auction.

Tanya is passionate about maximising the opportunities for local businesses during wind farm construction and operation and is also keen to see more women in senior roles within the industry. She has a son and lives in South Wales, where she is often found on the beach walking her dog.

Lead by: Rachel Hayes

Contact: [email protected]