Making Ireland a clean energy leader

12 Aug 2010

Ireland could access over three times its total energy requirements by divining into its renewable energy sources, claims energy expert.

With Ireland currently importing almost 90pc of its energy needs, it has the capacity to capitalise on its own natural resources to achieve energy independence and become a world leader in the use of clean energy – that’s according to a new book, Green & Gold – Ireland a Clean Energy World Leader?, penned by energy expert John Travers.

Travers is founding CEO of Alternative Energy Resources (AER), which is based at NovaUCD. AER operates in the production and supply of biofuels in the Irish market, large-scale biofuels production projects and next generation biofuels research and development

According to Travers, 20pc of total Irish energy needs can be met by renewable energy within the next 10 years and 80pc by 2050. In addition, he says 20pc of Irish GDP can be derived from clean energy exports.

Energy alternatives

In his book, Travers assesses practical energy alternatives using renewable sources such as wind, solar, wave and biomass, which would allow Ireland to meet all of its energy needs and achieve energy independence.

Speaking today at NovaUCD, Travers said: “Clean energy can help rescue Ireland from its current economic and energy challenges. Ireland is endowed with winds that are among the strongest in the world and the waves that crash against our western seaboard are some of the most powerful on the planet. Harnessing these and other clean energy sources such as solar and biomass offers Ireland a golden opportunity to overcome the energy challenge it faces.

“There is the potential to create almost 100,000 jobs from harnessing renewable energy and applying energy efficiency activities,” he added.

According to Travers’ findings:

– The cost to achieve the first practical step of a 20pc renewable energy contribution and implement basic energy efficiency measures in Ireland is estimated to be €15bn invested over 10 years.

– The primary return on this investment would be achieved from national and export sales of renewable energy. Additional annual returns in the order of €1.2bn (ie, from reduction in cost of importing oil, reduction in costs associated with carbon dioxide emissions, trading of carbon credits, energy efficiencies and additional tax receipts) would also be achieved.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic