At a glance
The theme for this year's Acumen is
"Harnessing experience and unleashing innovation"
The conference will begin on Monday 8th February and finish on Wednesday 10th February. The conference dinner, on the Tuesday evening, will be at Belfast Harbour Commisioners.
Delegates will arrive on Monday evening with a welcome dinner in Bert's Jazz Bar.
Venues & Hotels
Titanic Belfast has become the most popular tourist attraction in Northern Ireland and one of the top attractions in Ireland, having welcomed 1 million visitors through its doors between opening on 31 March 2012 and July 2013.
As you walk through the doors of the attraction you will be introduced to the building’s giant atrium surrounded by the four ‘ships’, hull shaped wings which house the beginning of the Titanic experience. Your journey takes you through nine galleries of this state-of-the-art visitor experience telling the story of the Titanic, from its conception in Belfast in the early 1900s, through its construction and launch, to its famous maiden voyage and tragic end. The story is brought up to the present with the discovery of the wreck and into the future with live links to contemporary undersea exploration.
+44(0)28 9076 6399
The Merchant Hotel has been awarded AA Hotel of the Year for Northern Ireland at the prestigious national AA Hospitality Awards. The five star Merchant Hotel in Belfast is a harmonious blend of Victorian grandeur and Art Deco inspired sleek modernity.
Situated in the heart of Belfast city centre's historic Cathedral Quarter, the grandeur of the original Grade A listed building is complemented by an elegant Art Deco inspired wing with a multitude of exciting amenities. These include a stunning luxury spa, a rooftop gymnasium with panoramic city views, a dedicated meeting and events suite and a fabulous jazz bar.
+44(0)28 9023 4888
The Merchant Hotel
In a little city with a great big heart, you'll find Malmaison Belfast, the boutique hotel that's always big on style. The former seed warehouse is now one of the funkiest hotel in Belfast city centre, offering astonishing brasserie food and a drop of the black stuff to match any pub in town. Just as importantly, the hotel in Belfast puts one of the world's great maritime ports on your doorstep, where its proud seafaring past competes for your attention with cool and contemporary nightlife.
+44(0)28 9022 0200
Bert's Jazz Bar
Berts Jazz Bar encapsulates the sleek elegance of the art deco era, complimented by the very best in live jazz, fabulous cocktails and mouth-watering food.
Taking inspiration from a typical French bistro menu, Berts offers a sophisticated selection of mouth-watering dishes created by Head Chef Michael Weber – from Chateau Briand to Moule Frites.
Belfast Harbour Commissioners
For more than 150 years, the Harbour Office has been the headquarters of the Belfast Harbour Commissioners, the body charged with the operation, maintenance and development of the Port of Belfast. The architectural style reflects that of an Italian palazzo.
The ground floor of the building is currently used as office accommodation, whilst the grandiose rooms on the upper floor are reserved for business meetings, including the Commissioners’ monthly board meetings, and special functions. These rooms, heavily ornate in typical Victorian fashion, also provide an ideal setting for the Commissioners’ impressive fine art collection. To herald in the new Millennium, the building was refurbished by the Commissioners, who are committed to maintaining its historic fabric in its original glory.
Chairman of the Acumen 2016 Programme Committee
Mike Kay spent most of his working life working in electricity distribution. He joined Norweb (Electricity North West’s forerunner) as a student apprentice in 1978 and then worked in most aspects of electrical engineering within the company ranging from policy roles, the detailed design of 132kV systems and equipment, and managing a regional direct labour force and the regulatory interface. During his career he has worked on software and systems development, in R&D including a four year stint as a test engineer at Norweb’s Experimental Laboratory. He was responsible for all the company’s technical and asset safety policies in the mid 1990s for a period of four years. He has chaired the Electricity Networks Association’s Engineering Committee, which at that time was the body responsible for all collective technical policies of the electricity distribution companies.
He chaired the Distribution Code Review Panel of Great Britain for fourteen years and served on the Grid Code Review Panel for eighteen. He has served on many industry panels and collaborative projects. He is currently assisting the GB distribution companies in implementing the European Network Codes into the GB codes and document that the ENA administers. He is a Fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), and is a past-chairman of The IET Manchester Branch.
Vice Chairman of the Acumen 2016 Programme Committee
John Scott is an independent consultant operating from his own company, Chiltern Power Limited. He was formerly Director, Network Innovation at KEMA Consulting Ltd. John’s previous roles have included Technical Director for Ofgem, the British electricity and gas regulator, and Director of Engineering for National Grid Company in the UK.
He was vice chairman of the European Smart Grids Technology Platform, is a Fellow of the Institution of Engineering & Technology, a member of the IET Energy Policy Panel and the Energy Sector Committee, a former member of The IET Board of Trusteesand a Visiting Professor at the University of Bath, UK. He is a founder member of the DECC/Ofgem Smart Grid Forum and Non Executive Director at Smarter Grid Solutions Ltd.
Director Asset Management, UK Power Networks
Barry Hatton is Director Asset Management for UK Power Networks. He joined the industry in 1981 after graduating from Imperial College and has over thirty years’ experience in the operations and management of electricity distribution networks. In his current role he is responsible for the development and deployment of network and asset strategies for optimising investment and performance for UK Power Networks’ £5.4bn regulated networks asset base.
Barry is a Chartered Electrical Engineer and Fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology and has a Masters degree in technology management. He represents UK Power Networks on the Electricity Networks Strategy Group and Energy Innovation Centre’s Advisory Board.
Head of Engineering, Electricity North West
Steve is a highly experienced senior manager and director with over 30 years experience across the electricity supply industry in commercial management, asset management, regulation, operations, training and development of which 8 years within a multi industry utility.
Steve has managed teams of over 400 staff across all aspects of distribution engineering and has a proven track record of successful program management of major capital and Operational IT investment projects. He is leading Electricity North West’s innovation, strategic planning and policy teams, he also chairs the Strategic Technology Programme Board; a collaborative research and development programme sponsored by all UK network Operators. In addition he also chairs the Energy Networks Association technical working groups on Low Carbon Technologies.
Future Networks and Policy Manager Scottish & Southern Energy (SSE)
Stewart leads SSE’s team dedicated to developing the company’s electricity networks, and their operation, to support a low carbon future. Stewart has worked in the electricity industry since 1983 and has been involved in managing electricity networks in many parts of Scotland, in a range of roles including, operational engineer, Planner, policy engineer and Project Manager (IT and Engineering).
Stewart is now Future Networks and Policy Manager, with the remit of introducing new and better ways of managing SSE’s electricity networks, and translating these new ideas into business as usual. A key part of Stewart’s role is as Project Director for SSE’s New Thames Valley Vision (NTVV) and Northern Isles New Energy Solutions project (NINES). These projects between include, monitoring, active network management, analytics and modelling, frequency responsive demand and some of Europe’s largest embedded energy storage facilities, including a 1MW NaS battery and a 150MwHrs distributed energy storage portfolio.
Professor Phil Taylor
Director, Newcastle University Institute for Sustainability
Professor Taylor is currently Director of the Newcastle University Institute for Sustainability and is Professor of Electrical Power Systems in the School of Electrical & Electronic Engineering. He carries out research which focuses on the challenges associated with the widespread integration and control of distributed/renewable generation in electrical distribution networks. Prior to joining Newcastle University he held the DONG Energy Chair in Renewable Energy and was a Director of the Durham Energy Institute.
He received an Engineering Doctorate in the field of intelligent demand side management techniques from the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST) in 2001. He has significant industrial experience as an electrical engineer including a period working in the transmission and distribution projects team at GEC Alsthom. His most recent position was Research and Development Director at Econnect (now Senergy Econnect), a consultancy firm specialising in the grid integration of renewable energy.
He has worked in an advisory capacity to the Department of Energy & Climate Change, Enercon, The Research Council of Norway, The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research, and the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation in Malaysia relating to Renewable Energy. He is currently working on a number of projects including The Autonomic Power System, Energy Storage for Low Carbon Grids (both EPSRC Grand Challenges projects) £9m, and Customer Led Network Revolution (Low Carbon Networks Fund) £54m.
Policy Manager, Western Power Distribution
Paul has worked in the electricity industry since graduating in 1988. He joined the South Western Electricity Board in the nationalised industry, and has experienced the changes through privatisation and separation. He remains with his original employer, now Western Power Distribution and part of the NYSE listed PPL group.
Paul trained as an operational engineer and experienced all aspects of distribution network maintenance, replacement and construction. In 1995 he became a Distribution Manager and was responsible for service delivery and operations and performance in a geographical patch which covered most of Devon. In 2011 Paul left his operational roots to take up responsibility as Policy Manager for WPD. The role is key to WPD’s approach to innovation as it brings together the work of the Future Networks Team with the more traditional elements of management of an electricity distribution network. Paul is a Chartered Engineer and Fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology.
Future Transmission Networks Manager, National Grid
Richard joined National Grid in July 2000 following a degree in Civil Engineering at the University of Nottingham, a Doctor of Engineering and an MSc in Astronautics & Space Engineering at Cranfield University. He was Investor Relations Manager from 2006, representing National Grid in all aspects of its engagement with financial market stakeholders.
Richard has recently been appointed as the Future Transmission Networks Manager, where he is responsible for the development of strategic positioning and business model, supporting and developing energy policy, which will help ensure that National Grid plays a pivotal role in enabling the UK Government to meet its 2020 renewable targets and 2050 carbon emission targets.
Managing Director, Global Smart Transformation Ltd
Duncan currently holds the posts of Business Innovation and Growth Director at Parsons Brinckerhoff (part of Balfour Beatty Group) and Managing Director Global Smart Transformation Limited. In these roles he works closely with customers, academia, industry, government and regulators to deliver innovative technical, commercial, environmentally balanced and culturally acceptable solutions to market challenges. He provides business accelerator services to numerous SMEs to help them achieve their strategic aims.
Some of his previous roles include: Executive Chairman of the Scottish European Green Energy Centre, Managing Director ITI Energy (a research institute) and with ABB as Head of Technology & Business Development. He has over 35 years experience covering the complete spectrum of technical and commercial roles from apprentice to boardroom. He is a visiting professor at Imperial College London and the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow.
He is an active member of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET, formerly the IEE) and is involved in many influential panels, advisory boards and committees at a National, European and International level. He is engaged across the energy domain from market design to primary fuels, generation (including CCS), transmission and distribution to end user issues. As an active member of the IET Energy Policy Panel, founding member of the DECC/Ofgem Smart Grid Forum, UK Energy Research Council Advisory Board member, former Vice-Chair of the European Technology Platform (ETP) for “SmartGrids”, member of the ETP Smart Cities and Communities working groups and other Smart Infrastructure committees he is helping to shape future thinking in the energy sector. He is also a founding member and served on the shadow board of the National Skills Academy for Power.
Co-Founder & Development Director, Smarter Grid Solutions
Graham is the Development Director and a Co-Founder of Smarter Grid Solutions Ltd. He leads the company research & innovation programme and the consultancy business while contributing to the company technical strategy, external engagement and business leadership. He is currently a member of the UK Smart Grid Forum Workstream 7, CIRED conference Technical Committee and Scottish Enterprise Smart Grid Leadership Group.
Founder Director, BNRG Renewables
David founded BNRG Renewables in 2007 with Neil Homan. BNRG is a renewable energy development company with a specialisation in utility scale solar. BNRG develops, constructs and operates solar PV projects and has commissioned over €150m of projects to date. It have offices in Ireland, UK, USA, and Nigeria and has over 450MW of projects in these territories under development or construction. 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. With over 19 years in the environmental and renewable energy sectors, he is consulted frequently on complex environmental and energy issues. David is a founding member and Chairman of the Irish Solar Energy Association ‘ISEA” and founding member of the Alliance for Affordable Solar Energy ‘AFASE’, the industry group that represents over 850 European companies with a combined annual turnover of over €25bn and employing over 84,000 people. David held positions with the Environmental Protection Agency with responsibility for Research & Development.
Dr. Roger Duck
Director, Mapsar Ltd
Roger is an independent consultant, working as a facilitator, researcher, advisor and interim manager to a range of organisations in the public and private sector. Much of his work is related to strategic planning for technology infrastructure, in particular telecommunications. In 2012-13 he led a workstream as part of a European research project to examine the regulatory barriers and enablers for the development of smart energy (FI-PPP FINSENY project).
He makes use of systemic approaches in his work to bring new perspectives on the challenges of complex systems. He has served as Director of Professional Development for SCiO, the organisation for systems practitioners.
Roger read physics at Oxford University, and has a PhD from the University of Manchester for his research in nuclear fusion (1994). Prior to setting up his own consultancy business in 2008, he worked with over 100 organisations as a consultant with Smith System Engineering (now Detica), Mason Communications, and Analysys Mason.
Head of Engineering Design and Standards, SP Energy Networks
Martin is the Head of Engineering Design and Standards and is responsible for the concept design of all major projects and the standards for assets to ensure the long term integrity of the network.
Martin joined ScottishPower in 2005 after graduating from the University of Strathclyde with a Master’s degree in Electrical and Mechanical Engineering. He also holds an MBA from Warwick Business School as part of the Global Energy Programme. His experience has been gained across a number of roles including operational projects, Investment Planning, Corporate Strategy and as Future Networks Manager. Martin was also heavily involved in developing the SP Energy Networks business plan and ensuring the business is aligned to deliver the plan in this period of unprecedented investment for ED1.
Managing Director, Kelvatek Ltd
Peter is the Managing Director of Kelvatek. Kelvatek is a world leader in the development and supply of intelligent switching & monitoring equipment for electricity distribution systems.
Prior to this role Peter has held roles as the Sales & Marketing Director for Kelman and as a Sales Director for GE Energy. As well being MD for Kelvatek he is also a board member of the Camlin Group. He holds an M.Eng in Electronic & Electrical Engineering from Loughborough University.