Strategy and Implementation Plan to ‘Transform’ Irish Economy by 2020

May 14, 2012 /

The Cleantech sector in Ireland can create nearly 80,000 jobs across the Irish economy and boost GDP by €3.9 billion by 2020 according to Ernst & Young’s “Cleantech Ireland” report launched today.

The global Cleantech sector is estimated to be a $5 trillion market and is growing rapidly as governments and corporations develop policies in their efforts to improve energy and water security, increase competitiveness, create employment and reduce waste and emissions. The Cleantech Ireland report  estimates that this sector has the potential to create nearly 80,000 direct and indirect jobs through specific national schemes such as retrofitting, renewable energy and construction.

At present, the cleantech sector in Ireland employs 18750 people and is valued at over €3bn to the economy.

Barry O’Flynn, Head of Cleantech and Sustainability at Ernst & Young Ireland said:“The cleantech sector can transform Ireland’s economy in two fundamental ways.  Firstly, the sector can drive economic recovery through job creation and growth.  Secondly, it places future economic growth on a sustainable path by breaking our dependence on importing fossil fuels which currently stands at €5.6 billion, by significantly reducing domestic national energy consumption and generating more indigenous renewable energy.

Stephen Nolan, Executive Co-ordinator, Green IFSC, said: “Ireland is already emerging as a world leader in green finance with $10 billion in green assets managed or serviced. Irish green asset management and green enterprise firms are active all over the globe in regions as diverse as Asia, South America, South Africa and throughout Europe.

Nolan added: “Green IFSC announced last week that it intended to grow these green assets to $200 billion in the coming years. We will achieve this by continuing to work in collaboration with the policy-makers, Ireland’s innovative businesses and world-class international financial services centre to ensure the optimum business environment for green finance”

The potential for significant improvements in competitiveness in those sectors that incorporate cleantech can improve energy efficiency resulting in huge savings and competitiveness.  Ireland’s overall energy mix could shift away from the import of fossils fuels that currently stands at €5.6 billion and become an energy exporter through the European single electricity market.

Sounding a warning note against policy inaction, Ireland’s international competitiveness is likely to be significantly eroded if volatile and high energy prices prevail and if energy efficiency and renewable energy measures aren’t implemented at scale. The negative impact on GDP was estimated to range from €9.8 – €12.3 billion.

To mitigate such a scenario, leading Cleantech countries such as Denmark and Germany have in place 30-year national policy frameworks that provide the necessary certainty for investment in renewable production.  In Demark the industry employs 24,000 people, accounts for 8.5% of total Danish exports and generates approximately DKK51.1 billion or €6.91 billion. In Germany, studies show that the renewable energy sector employed approximately 370,000 people in 2010 and this could rise to over half a million by 2030.

Mr O’Flynn said: “The Green IFSC is an excellent initiative to accelerate growth in green finance in Ireland and it already reaping benefits in terms of increased assets and jobs. Now the Green IFSC has been given a mandate it can really co-ordinate and pull together the many positive public and private sector initiatives in this area. An implementation plan is well underway and Green IFSC close collaboration with the private sector and the investment community will strengthen further. This sort of certainty and co-ordination in policy-making will drive investment into the sector, attracting external investors and creating exciting businesses”.

Kenneth Matthews, Chief Executive, Irish Wind Energy Association said; “Globally renewables are seen as a key strategic sector to be developed to help economies recover from austerity. From an Irish perspective it has always been clear that we have abundant resources both naturally and in term of talent to develop the renewables sector not only to meet our own EU binding renewables targets but also to assist other EU countries in meeting theirs.  If the correct actions are taken to create regulatory certainty, deliver infrastructure, create public acceptance and the political will exists Ireland can become the renewable energy hub for Europe, transforming our economy via cheaper, cleaner and more secure electricity, creating much needed jobs in energy and energy enterprise through the transition.”

Mr Nolan said: “We welcome this report from Ernst & Young which clearly demonstrates Ireland’s opportunity.”


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