Ireland and Washington to explore clean-tech business alliances

4 Jul 2012

Dr Brian Motherway, chief executive, SEAI

Against the backdrop of today being Independence Day in the US, a delegation from Washington State’s Department of Commerce has visited the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) to discuss trade link-ups, especially for Irish clean-tech companies to forge alliances with international markets.

Washington State’s Department of Commerce’s visit to SEAI is part of a trade mission to Ireland and the UK, with the aim of developing business linkages.

According to the SEAI, the visit presents an “exciting opportunity” for Irish clean-tech companies to make meaningful collaborations with international markets, including the US and Far East which can be easily accessed via Washington.

The delegation itself is being headed by Washington State Governor Christine Gregoire. It also includes leaders from industry, academia, state utilities and public enterprise organisations who are visiting with the intention of growing foreign exports and encouraging direct investment. Key growth areas they are honing in include sustainable technology and ocean energy.

Apparently, the Washington delegation is also keen to learn from Ireland’s experience in relation to renewable energy and carbon-reduction policies.

Expertise in Ireland

SEAI chief executive Dr Brian Motherway said this morning that Ireland has developed significant expertise in sustainable energy, which now presents global commercial opportunities.

“As foreign markets increasingly recognise our knowledge and experience, and look to link with us, Irish businesses can expand to wider international markets and create real enterprise benefits,” he said.

Meanwhile, Gregoire said Washington was “excited” to explore areas of mutual opportunity with Ireland.

“As a small nation, Ireland has progressed well in developing sustainable energy policy and creating enterprise opportunities, particularly in emerging new technology areas. An Irish company has already secured a major contract to develop a tidal energy pilot project for a public utility provider in Washington State. Partnerships like these are critical to us meeting our growing energy needs in a clean and sustainable manner,” she said.

As part of the visit to SEAI, the US delegation will also be meeting with Irish ocean energy experts who will brief them on the latest Irish developments in wave and tidal energy. Right now, Ireland is being viewed as one of the global leaders in the development of ocean energy technology.

Through SEAI, Ireland will be hosting a major international conference on ocean energy, ICOE2012, in October in Dublin.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic