Multinational utility companies are seeking to invest more than €2bn to harness the energy of Co Clare’s natural resources, the Clare County Development Board (CDB) said in launching its Integrated Strategy on Energy & Climate Change.
The plan sets the path for Clare to become a low-carbon county by 2017, as stated in the new Clare County Development Plan.
The strategy also outlines plans to create carbon-free commercial trading centres within Co Clare and generate hundreds of jobs to serve the renewable energy market.
“This strategy sets out the importance that Co Clare places on its environment and heritage of renewable energy production," Cathaoirleach of the CDB Joe Arkins said. "This comes at a time when the country is searching for solutions to many social and economic issues. Ireland’s economy is suffering badly in the global recession and Co Clare has been affected.
“The county has also felt the financial effects of climate change during severe flooding and freezing weather last winter. Despite having abundant renewable energy resources, the county and country are also heavily dependent upon imported fossil fuels to support our society and economy."
Gerard Dollard, director of the Clare County Development Board, explained that the low-carbon economy is a central policy issue for all developed countries today.
“The low-carbon society and economy is defined by its use of local renewable energy resources," said Dollard. "As such, the economic activity is underpinned by secure clean energy. The technology to support this economy will also see the creation of skilled employment and energy that can be exported around the world.”
Pat Stephens of the Limerick Clare Energy Agency, chairman of the Steering Committee that delivered the strategy, added: “Co Clare has world-class renewable energy resources in the areas of wind, wave, tidal, and biomass energy. These resources will be harnessed to create clean energy and great wealth for the county and the country."
“The strategy will focus on ensuring that Co Clare maximises the benefits from the development of its natural renewable energy resources, and the establishment of a low-carbon county,” Stephens said.
The objectives of the Integrated Strategy on Energy & Climate Change
Energy security, conservation and efficiency:
- Energy conservation and benchmarking could reduce energy costs by €50m.
- Hundreds of jobs will be protected by improving energy efficiency and energy security.
Renewable and indigenous energy:
- Large multi-national utility companies are seeking to invest more than €2bn to harness the energy of Co Clare’s wind, wave, tidal and biomass resources.
- Hundreds of skilled jobs will be created to serve the renewable energy market.
Low-carbon economy – reduce CO2 emissions:
- Clare can create carbon-free commercial trading centres.
- Low-carbon counties attract inward investment.
- Reduced CO2 saves on carbon tax.
Research and development capacity in alternative energy:
- Clare is working with third-level institutes worldwide to establish R&D capacity on alternative energy in the county.
Transport energy efficiency, conservation and renewable energy:
- The county is well placed to support the roll out of electric vehicles.
- Public transport services will have enhanced ticketing and route planning systems.