THE NATIONAL BODY representing the wind energy sector in Ireland has called upon the Government to put a framework in place for wind energy – claiming the sector has the potential to create 30,000 jobs by 2020.
The Irish Wind Energy Association today launched a new policy paper, which suggests specific ways for the Irish economy to benefit from renewable energy opportunities.
Speaking at the opening of IWEA’s conference, Ireland’s Renewables – Answers for Ireland, Answers for Europe, CEO of IWEA Kenneth Matthews said that renewable energy exporting was “a significant national opportunity that needs to be seized”, saying it was important for Ireland to create new export-led growth.
Ireland has the potential and resources to not only meet our own renewables targets but to assist other EU countries in meeting theirs. This could lead to significant job creation, R&D opportunities and greater investment. However, Ireland must be ready to seize the opportunity and IWEA’s recommendations aim to help Government ensure the framework is correct to realise this potential.
In its policy paper, the IWEA recommends several approaches for embracing growth in the renewable energy sector, including the introduction of a Government policy to facilitate the achievement of 6GW of energy for export – claiming that 4GW of wind energy produced for the domestic market and 6GW for export could deliver up to 18,400 jobs by 2020.
It also recommends that renewable energy divisions be created in IDA, Enterprise Ireland and Forfás in order to “fully unlock the jobs potential”, saying that if State agencies were to work in tandem with industry they could “attract turbine manufacturers to Ireland, as well as supplying turbines to projects here”. Following from, the IWEA says, an Irish base could then be used as a ‘launch-pad’ into the European onshore and UK offshore market – creating an additional 9,000-12,000 jobs, and bringing the potential jobs total up to 30,400 by 2020.
It also recommends the development of a joint Irish-UK government policy, as the UK will reportedly require 18GW of wind energy before 2020. A policy to facilitate the achievement of a least 6GW of wind energy for export from Ireland could mean that the Irish economy could attract and manage an investment of more than €18 billion, it claimed.
Added to these recommendations, the IWEA also said the Government should aim to set 2030 EU targets for wind and marine energy.
The Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Jimmy Deenihan TD described the policy paper as “valuable” and added that Ireland was continuing to work to realise its renewable energy potential.
“Creating an energy export-led country adds another layer of opportunity and this policy paper provides both industry and Government with a roadmap to achieving this. We cannot underestimate the benefits that wind energy could bring to local economies around Ireland,” he said.