Energy industry chemist Dr Nina Skorupska has been named as the new chief executive of the Renewable Energy Association.

Skorupska will replace Gaynor Hartnell, who announced in March that she would be stepping down from the role.

At yesterday’s British Renewable Energy Awards, REA announced that Hartnell’s replacement would take up her new job on 29 July.

Skorupska said: “This is a challenging and exciting time for the UK, as it strives to accelerate the transition to a lower carbon economy.

“Even though the economic climate makes investors wary, the renewables sector is well-placed to bring us out of recession and create employment with a growth rate of 16% per annum to 2020.”

Martin Wright, chair of the REA board, said:“We are delighted that Nina is taking up the helm. She has a an impressive background, and a great understanding of not only the complex technical issues relating to energy, and the central importance of renewable energy, but also the challenges facing the industry.”

Skorupska joined National Power in 1993 as a fuel specialist and rose to become the first female manager of RWE npower’s Didcot B power station.

Since then she has led a UK energy trading team, been director of technology services, served in Germany as RWE Group’s director of performance improvement, and then the Netherlands where she was chief technology officer at Essent NV.

Hartnell, who has headed the REA since its inception, said she would continue to offer advice and to pursue some specific projects for the organisation.