Renewing Ireland – developing renewables and the challenges

24 Mar 2011

The Irish Wind Energy Association’s annual conference kicked off today, with the IWEA’s CEO Michael Walsh pointing to how red tape and bureaucracy is hampering job creation and investment in the renewable energy sector, which should be a robust market here in Ireland. He said wind energy investment was down 58pc or €265m in Ireland last year.

“Investors are lined up and ready to go but the framework for investment is simply too volatile,” said Walsh this morning.

The IWEA conference, which is taking place in Dublin City over the next two days, will be a hub for wind energy experts, along with energy, planning, legal and academic experts to share their views on topics such as wind energy planning, investing in renewables, global wind energy trends and future Green IFSC opportunities.

The European Commission’s Marie Donnelly, director, new and renewable sources of energy, energy efficiency and innovation in the Directorate General, will also present on a policy framework for Europe’s energy.

And with the former Government having stated in January 2011 that it would pump €6.8m in funding over the next three years into the eagerly anticipated Green IFSC, which is aiming to create new clean-tech jobs in the financial services sector, David Guest, chairman, Green IFSC will speak on future opportunities and current issues for Irish green finance. (With the Green IFSC itself, the Green IFSC Steering Group is scheduled to have completed its implementation plan by the end of March 2011).

Investing and planning legalities

A talk on policy framework for efficient investment will be given by Michael Tutty, chairman, Commission for Energy Regulation (ComReg).

George Burke, principal, Planning Policy and Legislation, Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, will speak about planning for wind energy.

Garrett Simons, Senior Council, will cover recent case law and legislative changes affecting wind energy projects.

Of the energy firms presenting, Gregory Alexander, finance director, SSE Renewables, will present on energy challenges for the new government. Peter Baillie, managing director, Energia, will cover the topic of financing renewable projects in today’s environment. Dave Kirwan, managing director, Investment, Bord Gáis, will speak on investment in renewables and the current environment for managing risk.

Dermot Byrne, chief executive, EirGrid, will talk about developing a robust transmission system to support policy objectives. Meanwhile Rory Mullan, senior consultant, Irish Grid Solutions, will talk about the impact of grid policy on generation development.

Vestas Black Banks

Black Banks Wind Farm in Co Leitrim, which is operated by Hibernian Wind Power, an ESB subsidiary. Black Banks itself is located in the Dartry Mountains on the Sligo/Leitrim border. It was built in two phases consisting of 4 turbines in Black Banks 1 and 8 turbines in Black Banks 2. It uses 12 Vestas V52 850kW turbines and produce green energy to meet the electricity demand of 5,700 homes. Image courtesy of Vestas

Vestas – a manufacturer’s view on wind energy globally

John Childs, senior vice-president, Sales & Marketing, Vestas, will speak about global trends in wind energy from a manufacturer’s view.

Prof John Sweeney of the Department of Geography at NUTI Maynooth will look at Ireland’s wind climate plus its present and future prospects.

Other speakers from energy fields in Ireland will include Peter O’Shea, head of Regulatory Affairs and Corporate Strategy, ESB; John Brereton, general manager, Wind Prospect Ireland; and Aidan Forde, director, Saorgus Energy.

The event’s main sponsor is SSE Renewables, while Vestas, Sisk and Arthur Cox are sponsoring individual elements of the conference.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic