Professor Cathy McClay FIET FCGI, Head of Commercial Operations, National Grid, Imperial Alumnus

Accelerating the UK transition to a decarbonised, decentralised and democratic energy system will have implications for all

Our energy industry is changing dramatically.  In 2010 only 3% of all the electricity consumed in the UK was produced by solar and wind generation. By 2017 this share had increased dramatically to 18%. Over the same period the coal generation share of electricity consumed plummeted from 32% to 6.5% and in 2018 we have had more than 1500 hours without coal generation synchronised on the system.

Our desire to deliver a low carbon future, coupled with technological advances such as battery storage and increasing consumer expectation means that the task of the Electricity System Operator for GB is becoming increasing complex. Innovation, flexibility and embracing a new collaborative approach to solving the problems of tomorrow will be key to navigating a world that will be characterised by de-centralisation, de-carbonisation and digitalisation. Together we need to seize the opportunities to deliver a smarter more flexible energy system that is fit for the future.

Professor Cathy McClay

Cathy McClay is Head of Future Markets at National Grid SO.  In this role she is responsible for delivering the strategy and tools to the electricity control room to balance the system in real time.  This includes responsibility for the delivery of the CfD and capacity auctions and the procurement of balancing services from both generation and demand side.   Much of this work is on developing the balancing markets to increase participation by removing barriers to entry.  Closer to real time her team is responsible for demand forecasting, margin forecasting and trading.

Cathy has over 15 years’ experience in the electricity industry.  Prior to joining National Grid she worked for a number of energy companies in the UK, France and the Netherlands, specialising in modelling and analysis for trading, risk management and strategy.  She studied electrical engineering at Imperial College where she was President of the engineers’ students union. She was awarded a PhD from St John’s College, Cambridge in the mathematical modelling of induction motors.

Cathy is a Fellow of the Institute of Engineering and Technology and a Visiting Professor in the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at Imperial College London.

The timetable for the evening is as follows:

18.15 - arrival at 170 Queens Gate for 18.30 start

Registration and welcome with a glass of wine or soft drinks

18.30 - 19.30

Introduction by Friends Chair, Rod Rhys Jones

An audience with Professor Cathy McClay FIET FCGI, Head of Commercial Operations, National Grid

19.30 - 20.00
Questions and discussion

20.00 - 20.30
Wine, soft drinks, evening canapes and conversation

20.30 Event close

Friends Soirees' feature in-depth, rich conversation and exploration of their subject matter. They are much smaller than lectures and are held in the prestigious Solar Room at 170 Queens Gate, Imperial College London.  A glass of wine (or two...) and nibbles are served.


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