Labour sets out plan to create 80,000 green energy jobs

4 Feb 2011

Labour’s communications spokeswoman Liz McManus this morning launched her party’s policy document on green energy jobs, which envisions the creation of 80,000 new positions across a range of sectors.

Speaking at the launch, she said her party would “get rid of red tape and streamline the development of green energy projects”.

“Until now, the Government has relied on wind power,” she added. “We must diversify into other green energy areas.”

According to the Labour Party’s document, the right energy policies could result in 80,000 new jobs across various sectors. It claims, for example, that up to 30,000 construction workers could be employed through a national retrofit programme to improve energy efficiency in 1.2m homes around the country.

Elsewhere, it suggests there is potential for 10,700 new wind energy jobs, including more than 7,000 in the construction sector; 3,700 new clean energy jobs to be created by the ESB; 300 new clean energy jobs created by Bord na Móna; 100 permanent jobs from the creation of one geothermal plant; 20,000 jobs in ocean energy; 5,000 jobs in biofuels and afforestation; and 5,000 jobs in biomass.

To overcome shortcomings in Ireland’s current energy policy, it proposes co-ordinating input from the public and private sector through a co-ordinating policy office within the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources.

According to Labour’s document, the current policy framework has been defined by a lack of policy and institutional co-ordination combined with delays in planning. “For example, onshore wind farm developers in Ireland can experience delays in planning applications of up to 33 months and are forced to contact an average of 14 governmental or local authorities to obtain a decision”.

It suggests a co-ordinated approach to implementing energy policy to help focus planning across the energy, heat and transport sectors. “A co-ordinated approach would enable a convergence of the political, economic and regulatory structures, which would drive progress.”

Some of the policy document’s other recommendations include:

–        A strengthened policy/institutional framework to ensure delivery of government strategy

–        Putting sustainability at the heart of energy policy across all sectors

–        A major national insulation/retrofit scheme

–        Investment in renewable energy and carbon reduction initiatives through a national strategic investment bank

–        Enacting legislation to ensure the growth of geothermal potential

–        Enacting the Fuel Poverty and Energy Conservation Bill

–        Enacting the Labour Party’s Climate Change Bill

–        Implementing an ambitious strategy to promote Ireland as a test-bed for the electrification of transport and introduction of 350,000 electric vehicles by 2025

–        Equipping the workforce with ‘green skills’ through the Labour Party’s skills drive

–        Establishing a renewable manufacturing hub to attract investment from international and national companies and facilitate companies to enter carbon-neutral green energy business parks

–        Developing a smart-grid system with the infrastructural capacity and the technological capability to ‘decarbonise’ the economy

–        Promotion of solar and other renewable forms of heating.

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