Government launches plan to support clean tech research and development

7 Feb 2014

Pat Rabbitte, Ireland's Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources

Ireland’s Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Pat Rabbitte, TD, has announced the launch of the Government’s Offshore Renewable Development Plan (OREDP) to develop the country’s clean tech potential.

As part of the overall strategy, the OREDP will aim to facilitate the development of the nation’s abundant offshore renewable energy across three key fronts – environmental sustainability, technical feasibility and commercial viability.

As part of the plan, an offshore renewable energy steering group (ORESG) will be established as its overseers and will be chaired by Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD.

The ORESG’s remit is to interact with environmental organisations and authorities like the Department of Environment, Community & Local Government and create environmental assessments based off their findings.

The group will also look into the research and development of the renewable energy sector in Ireland with an emphasis on creating jobs through potential international collaborations and will facilitate an initial market support scheme for ocean energy, both wave and tidal.

Limitless potential

Minister Rabbitte was speaking at the recent Ocean Energy Industry Forum in Dublin and spoke of how it is now the time to develop our clean tech potential with our abundance of renewable energy potential: “Ireland has a landmass of around 90,000 sq km, but a sea area of around ten times that size, at 900,000 sq km. Ireland’s position at the Atlantic edge of the EU gives an almost unparalleled offshore energy resource, with suitable conditions available for the development of the full range of current offshore renewable energy technologies.”

The Minister went on to say that: “The potential of the offshore renewable energy sector to be a source of sustainable employment and growth in the green economy has been consistently identified in Government economic planning and job creation strategies, and by the European Commission in its recent Communication on ‘Blue Energy’ – especially in coastal communities where job creation faces particular challenges.”

The announcement is part of the Government’s international commitment to reduce our demand on fossil fuels and encourage more energy creation.

The Government, as part of the European Union, has signed an agreement among all its members that by 2020, 16pc of Ireland’s energy used will come from indigenous renewable energy with an added target of 10pc of all transport to be provided from clean tech.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic