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National Grid taps Eirgrid CEO to lead new system operator entity

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National Grid's new SO business, to be in place by April 2019, will be led by Fintan Slye who will leave EirGrid in December. Image: National Grid.

The chief executive of Ireland’s transmission system operator has been poached by National Grid to head up what will become the UK’s new system operator company within the wider National Grid group.

Eirgrid announced the upcoming departure of Finten Slye this week after he informed the board that he would be leaving at the end of the year. Slye will create and run the new UK gas and electricity system operator business which Ofgem recently stated must be in place by April 2019.

Reflecting on his decade at the state-owned company, Slye said: “I would like to thank the Eirgrid Board and [the Republic of Ireland’s) Department of Communications, Climate Action and the Environment for their support in this important period of transformation for the electricity sector.

“I am confident that the company will continue to deliver on its responsibilities into the future and find innovative solutions to meet the challenges of climate change and sustainable economic growth. I am proud to have worked with colleagues and staff who are so committed to the work that they do on serving the needs of all electricity users.”

Slye joined Eirgrid as director of operations in 2007 and became its chief executive in October 2012 and has worked to integrate more renewables onto Ireland’s energy system through the DS3 programme.

This experience will no doubt come into play in his role at National Grid’s new SO, which will be responsible for balancing the electricity grid second by second at a time when the UK energy system is likely to see rising levels of renewable energy.

He was also this year elected as vice chairman of the Board of Entso-e (the European Organisation for Transmission Grid Operators) and a Fellow of the Institute of Engineers Ireland.

John O’Connor, chairman of Eirgrid’s Board, said: “On behalf of the board I would like to thank Fintan for his leadership and commitment to the success of the Eirgrid Group. He has a deep knowledge of the electricity industry and led a process of significant change within the company which included a programme on integrating renewables onto the Irish electricity grid known as DS3.

“He also led a new approach on developing the grid in Ireland with particular emphasis on improved public consultation.”

This too will also become an important function of the new SO, which is intended to boost transparency between the National Grid group and UK energy sector participants.

The Eirgrid Board had begun a process to find a successor, with Slye continuing to lead Eirgrid until he leaves at the end of December.

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