Ireland could create 80,000 new green tech jobs

2 Dec 2009

As many as 80,000 new Irish jobs in the US$700bn green economy are envisaged as part of the Irish Government’s Report of the High Level Action Group on Green Enterprise.

The action group, chaired by pharmaceutical industry veteran Joe Harford, was tasked with identifying the series of actions required to enable Ireland to realise the potential of developing an innovation-based green-enterprise sector as part of its enterprise portfolio.

“We are committed to the development of a vibrant green-enterprise sector, which has the potential to create 80,000 jobs as part of our strategy for Ireland’s economic renewal,” Cowen said.

“This report sets out a blueprint for the Government to follow in achieving that aim. Supporting the growth of the green-enterprise sector will bring new opportunities for Irish business, create jobs and attract investment to our economy, ultimately contributing to economic recovery and growth.”

In the report

The report identifies the potential to create up to 80,000 jobs in future years. It contains many practical proposals and the Government has agreed to oversee priority implementation of those recommendations that can deliver jobs and investment opportunities.

The latest estimates put the size of the global environmental goods and services market as exceeding US$700bn by 2010. The value of this sector for Ireland is growing and estimated to be more than US$2.8bn in 2008.

The Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Mary Coughlan TD said that maximising the potential for Irish business and for job creation of the growing worldwide interest in “green” solutions to today’s problems and challenges is our key focus in adding this sector to our enterprise portfolio.

“Ireland has a track record of building on our skills and talent to focus on key sectors.

“We have had significant success in sectors such as food, ICT, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology to date. The adoption and targeting of the environmental goods and services sector now allows us to capitalise and build on our existing skills base to capture for Ireland part of the global growth in this sector,” Coughlan said.

Ireland’s best bet

Eamon Ryan TD, the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, said the green economy represents the single best bet for Ireland to lift itself out of recession.

“We have the resources, the political will and the plan. We are already implementing; with over €30 billion in investments from our semi-state sector, with private industry on board and with thousands of jobs already created. The 80,000 jobs this report identifies, the investment and the new economics will be implemented.

Harford believes there are significant opportunities for Ireland if it acts quickly.

“I see a need for Ireland to be able to respond quickly and flexibly to capture new opportunities,” he said.

“Implementation of this report is essential in order to maximise the potential for Ireland in the green-enterprise sector. We need to gain a significant foothold and a competitive advantage in the short-term as competition for investment and ideas in this sector is growing across the globe,” Harford said.

There are a number of clear areas of action and opportunity identified in the report, including:

  • – Green procurement
  • – Renewable energy and providing energy efficiency
  • – Green enterprise zones
  • – World-class green R&D
  • – Waste management
  • – Water and waste water treatment

By John Kennedy

Photo: Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Eamon Ryan TD.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years