Renewable energy and interest in sustainability really changed gear in 2010. From the Government and ESB launching their e-cars scheme, wave energy firms winning investment in the US, to blanket investment in wind farms and sustainable energy plants across the country; 2010 has been a busy, if not eclectic, year for Ireland.
Ireland kept on track to meet the European 2020 carbon targets with the broad range of renewable projects that continue to innovate and inspire cleaner and more viable methods of energy production.
Below is a list of the key developments in green tech in Ireland over the past 12 months.
European Supergrid will drive renewable energy targets
Described by Energy Minister Eamon Ryan as the “best policy decision taken in the EU since the 20-20-20 renewable energy and energy efficiency targets” the Supergrid will see 10 European countries, including Ireland, join forces to develop transnational grid infrastructure in the North and North West Seas.
ESB powers up new electric cars website
The Electricity Supply Board made a slew of announcements regarding the roll out of e-cars over the past year. A national charging grid has already begun to take shape with the Government
ESB has also launched a website to create greater public awareness about the PSA Peugeot Citroën e-vehicles that will be readily available and discounted across Ireland in 2011.
ESB also signed a Memorandum of Understanding to collaborate on the challenges of integrating electric vehicles into the electricity grid.
10,000 clean-tech jobs expected over the next five years
An tSlí Ghlas – The Green Way, was set up and European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science Maire Geoghegan-Quinn forecast 10,000 jobs over the next five years in what could be Ireland’s first economic green centre.
A triple helix of industry, academic institutions and local authorities, An tSlí Ghlas said its intention was to position Ireland as a centre of clean-tech innovation and enterprise.
Irish energy firm riding the crest of investment wave
Ocean energy technology firm Wavebob announced it would receive almost US$3m (€1.8m) from the US Department of Energy.
Minister Eamon Ryan described Co Kildare-based firm Wavebob as an "innovative company", having secured one investment after another from major energy utilities at home and abroad.
Go-ahead for €200m wind farm in Clare
Co Clare County Council gave planning permission to West Clare Renewable Energy (WCRE) to construct 28 3MW wind turbines between Ennis and Miltown Malbay.
The project expects that 300 jobs would be created during the construction phase and the operation will have a capacity to generate enough electricity to power every home and business in Co Clare, as well as meeting the Limerick Clare Energy Agency’s 2010 targets for emissions and renewable energy production, according to WCRE.
Nissan Leaf makes European debut in Dublin
With the all-electric Nissan LEAF set to hit the Irish market in February 2011, Ireland was given a sneak preview of what it was capable of as it was debuted on Grand Canal Dock, Dublin, last August.
Nissan took orders for the LEAF even though it would not be available, nor would the charging infrastructure exist, until early 2011. The greener vehicle market began to gather pace in 2010 with Toyota announcing it intended to have around 5 million e-vehicles on the roads by 2015 andhybrid and all electric vehicles vying for their share of the market.
The EirGrid Annual Renewable Report found that Ireland was playing a leading role in Europe by adding wind power and other renewables to its energy supply and found that Ireland was on target to achieve its target of 40pc of electricity from renewable sources by 2020.
Minister Eamon Ryan said the best way to guarantee less spending on importing energy was to develop and use our own indigenous renewable energy.
The €40m Co Offaly biomass plant promised to create 65 staff jobs upon its completion and that it would generate enough energy to power up to 5,000 homes. Construction on the plant was expected to be completed by 2012.
Wind farm investment keeps Ireland on target for 2020
Wind energy company Energia expanded its reach across the country with the announcement of a €72m wind farm in Co Tyrone that will generate 51MW of electricity.
The company has operations both north and south of the border and helps bolster Ireland’s charge towards 2020 EU carbon targets.