Experts from the Irish Wind Energy Association (IWEA) have claimed Ireland’s wind-energy market has the potential to create 30,000 jobs by 2020 – that’s if the Government brings about some reforms to the industry.
The IWEA is holding its autumn conference in Killarney, Co Kerry, today, where it launched a new policy paper on exports and a renewable development policy framework for Ireland.
Among its recommendations, the IWEA is calling on the Government to revise targets to achieve 6GW of wind power for export to the UK, along with 4GW of wind energy for the Irish market. The IWEA is claiming that the two combined could deliver up to 18,400 jobs by 2020.
It is also calling for the creation of renewable energy divisions in IDA Ireland, Enterprise Ireland and Forfás.
The IWEA says if these State agencies work together they could attract wind turbine manufacturers to Ireland. Such a co-operative approach, according to the IWEA, could have the potential to create up to 12,000 jobs, thus bringing the true job-creation potential up to the 30,000 mark by 2020.
"Ireland has the potential and resources to not only meet our own renewables targets but to assist other EU countries in meeting theirs. This could lead to significant job creation, R&D opportunities and greater investment," said IWEA chief executive Kenneth Matthews today.
The IWEA is also proposing a joint Irish-UK government policy to help Ireland export at least 6GW of wind energy by 2020.
It claims the UK needs 18GW of wind energy before 2020 and if Ireland can achieve this 6GW target the country can attract and manage an investment of more than €18bn into the economy.
In addition, the IWEA is calling on the Government to set 2030 EU targets for wind and marine energy.
Stephen Wheeler, managing director of Airtricity and IWEA chair, said today that Ireland’s energy approach should be much more ambitious.
"The rest of Europe and in particular our closest neighbours, the UK, need renewable energy. Ireland has the resources, the comparative advantage and the talent to deliver," he said.