SEAI prepares for clean energy revolution

5 Nov 2010

Energy roadmaps for ocean energy, bio energy and energy efficiency were revealed by the Sustainable Energy Authority today to help target Ireland’s renewable energy ambitions.

The energy roadmaps were announced today at the Pathways to 2050 conference in Dublin, which featured keynote speakers such as the US Secretary for Energy, Dr Steven Chu, and Nobuo Tanaka, executive director of the International Energy Agency.

The SEAI says the roadmaps are the country’s first attempt to map out the long-term opportunities in energy and carbon dioxide reduction.

Professor Owen Lewis, CEO of SEAI, said: “In addition to outlining the significant economic potential of some key energy sectors, these roadmaps help us understand what are the key actions required to achieve our energy and climate goals up to 2050. The scenarios we examine in the roadmaps will assist in informing the necessary decisions and actions about our long-term ambition for sustainable energy in Ireland, about what we want to achieve, and how we achieve it.”

Ocean Energy Roadmap to 2050

The ocean energy sector has the potential to create up to 70,000 employment opportunities says the SEAI, with a potential cumulative economic benefit of up to €120bn by 2050.

Analysing the growth prospects of the ocean says employment opportunities will be achievable through Irish companies exporting key technology services and by providing expertise to the global market. 

The potential cumulative economic benefit of up to €120bn by 2050 can be achieved from factors such as electricity generated, emissions reductions, security of energy supply and regional development.

Said Prof Lewis: “Ireland can genuinely become a world leader in this sector, but we need to take strong action. Key to Ireland’s opportunity in this area, will be continued support and investment, even when the returns are yet some years away. This is a vital challenge but I believe we should take up that challenge.”

Bio-energy Roadmap to 2050

The SEAI predicts that bio-energy has a key role to play in sustainable rural development and employment, as well as avoiding over 11 million tonnes of CO2 annually.

It said developing the indigenous bio-energy supply chain will contribute to energy requirements for transport, electricity generation and heat. By 2050, annual CO2 avoided through bio-energy developments could be equivalent to emissions from today’s Irish housing stock.

Energy Efficiency/Residential Energy Roadmap to 2050

With Irish homes currently accounting for more than a quarter of energy-related carbon dioxide emissions, the SEAI in its roadmap for energy efficiency says residential CO2 emissions could be reduced by 90pc. By 2020, it says Ireland’s residential energy bill could be reduced by as much as €1bn per annum

The SEAI said the delivery of a strong retrofit programme over the next decade could support 10,000 Irish jobs in installation jobs.

“There is significant retrofitting activity under way with the support of the Government’s grant schemes, and we need to build on these further. We have to reach many more homes and encourage deeper future-proof upgrades,” concluded Prof Lewis. 

Clean Energy: The Next Industrial Revolution

Yesterday, US Energy Secretary Dr Steven Chu and Minister Eamon Ryan TD jointly hosted a town hall meeting in Government Buildings with US and Irish business and NGO leaders entitled, “Clean Energy: The Next Industrial Revolution”. Video reports from this event can be viewed on Business & Leadership.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic