Business Person of the Month

April 2010: Jim Barry, chief executive, NTR

By Business & Finance
02 May 2010
Jim Barry

Barry has led the the transformation of NTR from an Irish toll road corporation into a top international developer of green energy.


Irish renewable energy company NTR, this month, launched an international foundation to address the challenges posed by climate change, a move that has won support from business leaders and politicians alike. The foundation has sealed the company’s reputation as a central player in the green economy going forward.

At the heart of this success is chief executive Jim Barry who has held the position since July 2000. He has led the transformation of the company from its origins as an Irish toll road developer, through its period as a broad based Irish utility, into a leading international developer in renewable energy and sustainable waste management.


The company has evolved over the last 10 years from an Irish-based infrastructure organisation into a leading company with significant businesses in wind energy, solar energy, biofuels and recycling in the US, Britain and Ireland.

Barry is a director of NTR’s key subsidiaries: Wind Capital Group, a leading North American wind farm developer; Greenstar, an international recycling operator; and Green Plains Renewable Energy, a North American ethanol producer. He is chairman of Stirling Energy Systems/Tessera Solar, a solar thermal technology company and international thermal solar project developer. Barry was also chairman of Airtricity, a leading international wind farm developer, from its formation in November 1999 to its sale for €1.8bn in early 2008.

Strategic investments

Major transactions by NTR have included the conclusion of the sale of the West-Link to the State. This has enabled the business to embark on a series of strategic investments in cleantech businesses across the United States, including an investment of $100m in a US solar thermal generation business – Stirling Energy Systems. An investment of $150m in Wind Capital Group and the merger of its ethanol business, VBV, with the Nasdaq-listed Green Plains Renewable Energy (GPRE) have also been included in the company’s investment portfolio.

In addition, Greenstar in North America has become a top player in the US recycling industry following an investment of $240m.

Key renewable infrastructure

NTR interim financial results for the half year ended September 2009, showed NTR’s continued investment in and expansion of the group’s green energy and resource-sustaining businesses. NTR’s renewable energy businesses continued to develop key infrastructure projects across the wind and solar sectors, including the commencement of construction of the 150MW Lost Creek wind farm in Missouri and the first utility scale solar project using SunCatcher concentrating solar thermal technology in Phoenix Arizona.

Barry was the driver behind the establishment of the NTR Foundation. The foundation provides targeted financial assistance to projects that make a strong and tangible contribution to the challenges of climate change, resource sustainability and security of energy supply, as well as the support of entrepreneurship, one of the founding tenets of the group’s success.

Outside interests

Barry also has extensive interests outside of NTR. He is on the Council of Patrons of Special Olympics Ireland, is a board member of the Ireland Funds and is chairman of the Undergraduate Awards of Ireland. He has a  degree in commerce from University College Cork and a masters in business administration from the Harvard Business School.

Jim Barry – latest project

  • Barry has been chief executive of NTR since 2000.
  • This month, NTR announced a foundation to provide support to climate-change initiatives around the world.

Merc logoBusiness & Finance, Business Person of the Month

Business & Finance, in association with MERC Partners, has been awarding excellence in business through the ‘Business Person of the Month’ award over the last number of years. These awards seek to recognise noteworthy achievements in business leadership, and particularly those that make a telling contribution to the wider business community in Ireland.