GES 2018

Ireland's First Student-led Energy Summit


The Galway Energy Summit 2018 (GES18) was hosted in National University of Ireland in Galway (NUIG). This was a student organised event that was held in the Bailey Allen Hall.  

The event commenced with a panel discussion. The theme for GES18 was “The Future of Energy in Ireland”. The discussion provided the opportunity for industry, students and academics to talk about Ireland’s future energy strategy. This subject has never been so topical as it has just recently been discovered that Ireland is failing to reach goal targets set out by 2020.

This was followed by a careers fair which provided students the opportunity to speak to potential future employers. The careers fair brought together various energy experts, companies, start-ups , students and professors to one venue. This was the ideal situation for students and other visitors to understand and become more knowledgeable of the work being done in the energy industry. Companies had the chance to promote their work and allow their ideas and methods to inspire others.

The summit closed with a mixing event in Sult, NUIG’s college bar. The first ever of its kind, the mixing event was a unique networking opportunity where companies and students were able to discuss and share thoughts on the summit.

This was a student-run event, hosted and attended by students and allowed for a strong step towards energy efficiency in the future. Companies also had the chance to attract some of Ireland’s brightest innovative young graduates and promoted potential internships that were available.

Speakers 2018

Moderator – Shane McDonagh

Shane has always been interested in energy, engineering, policy, and advocacy. He believes that a truly sustainable future cannot be achieved without public buy-in and so became involved in many scientific communication and outreach projects where he studies, in University College Cork as part of the MaREI research group.

He promotes sustainability and aims to inform discussion on the energy transition. He believes policy has been slow to react and Ireland is at risk of being left behind in the low-carbon transition, damaging the economy and the environment.

Now pursuing a PhD in renewable gas after graduating from NUI Galway with a master’s in Energy Systems, he is delighted to be given the opportunity to moderate such an event, deliberating the “Future of Energy in Ireland”.

Eamon Ryan

Eamon Ryan is the current leader of the Green Party, occupying the position since May 2011. He serves as a TD, representing Dublin Bay South. Eamon has previously worked on The Climate Gathering, which aimed to develop a safe space to consider how to communicate the issue of climate change, and was the founding chairperson of the Dublin cycling campaign. In 1996, he received the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award, in recognition of the success of his cycling tourism company, Cycling Safaris.

Eamon also has previous experience as Minster for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources from 2007 to 2011. In this role, Eamon stated his priorities as improving upon the changes occurring in the Irish energy sector, especially in aiding the adaption of renewables and building retrofitting. Eamon formerly chaired the Digital and Energy Policy Groups for the Institute of International and European Affairs in Dublin.

In 2012, Eamon became involved in associate work with the European climate change think tank E3G, which aims to aid the transition to a low carbon economy. He worked on an assessment of the development potential of the North Seas Offshore Grid Initiative. This project had the support of the European Climate Foundation.

David Taylor

David completed his professional engineering development over nine years in a variety of technical posts. He has wide and differentiated experience of several industry sectors in terms of markets served, regulatory requirements and performance management.

David is currently the principal in David Taylor & Associates; and a former Chairman of the Energy Institute in Ireland.  He advised the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Climate Change and Energy Security and supported the committee’s Public Consultation on Ireland’s Electricity Needs post-2020. As the first CEO of Sustainable Energy Ireland, David’s agency responsibility culminated in the delivery of a suite of programmes with a capital budget of €70million in 2008. Having broken new ground with the establishment of SEI as a statutory body in 2002, he ensured that SEI went on to build its capacity to undertake analyses, provide evidence-based policy advice to Government, and meet the expectations of industrial, commercial, regulatory and research stakeholders in respect of energy awareness, information, advice, and financial support needs.

The Energy Institute’s Irish Branch is currently focusing on the launch of its new Ireland 2050 Knowledge Website that aims to help the public understand the issues at play in developing our energy system and to make others aware of the choices and trade-offs which are usually available to the public. As project leader of Ireland 2050, David Taylor has described the site as “An independent resource for all- layperson and policy maker alike.” My 2050 allows users to take control and responsibility for the way we use energy in the future. David has noted that “the challenge is to reduce CO2 emissions to 20% of 1990 levels in 2050 to help avoid dangerous climate change.”

More information on My 2050 is available at:

Clare Duffy

Smart Customer Access and Distribution Planning Manager, ESB Networks

Clare Duffy is a chartered engineer with over 20 years’ experience in the electricity industry. In ESB Networks, the teams that Clare manage are responsible for planning network access for customers (e.g. demand, conventional generation, renewables, flexibility) who submit an application to connect to the electricity distribution system and for ensuring that distribution reinforcement investment plans are in place to meet both current and anticipated future demands.

Previous roles have included ESB UK General Manager; Operations Manager for ESB International (ESBI); Manager, Strategic Consultancy Group, ESBI; ESBI project management roles on power infrastructure developments in Europe, Southeast Asia and the Middle East and a power system protection engineer with ALSTOM in the USA and UK.

In addition, Clare is a Non-Executive Director of Elexon (responsible for £1.7b of electricity balancing market settlement transactions through its role as administrator of the GB Electricity Wholesale Market Balancing and Settlement Code) and was on the Advisory Group for Wave Energy Scotland between 2015-2017. She has post-graduate qualifications in Accounting, Finance, Marketing and Management.

Dr. David Connolly 

David Connolly is Head of Policy at the Irish Wind Energy Association since May 2017, where he develops policies that promotes wind energy in Ireland, engages with external stakeholders, manages IWEA’s policy committees, and represents the wind industry’s views at events. His primary responsibilities relate to electricity markets, electricity networks, wind farm planning, and strategic energy policy.

Previously, David was an Associate Professor in Energy Planning at Aalborg University in Copenhagen where his research focused on the design and assessment of 100% renewable energy systems for electricity, heat, and transport.

He graduated as a Mechanical Engineer in 2007 and completed a PhD in energy modelling in 2011, both at the University of Limerick.

More information is available on his website: