Bord na Móna CEO calls on politicians and business to ‘hack the green economy’

26 Jul 2012

Bord na Móna CEO Gabriel D'Arcy

Speaking at Science Gallery yesterday evening in Dublin as part of the gallery’s Hack the City exhibition, Gabriel D’Arcy, the head of the utility service Bord na Móna, called for a new national focus, as well as political leadership, for Ireland to take advantage of its natural resources, such as wind and wave power.

Business in the Community Ireland organised last night’s hacking event at Science Gallery at Trinity College Dublin to examine some of the next steps Ireland could take in terms of becoming a greener economy.

Focus areas that were thrashed out last night included future developments in the area of integrated sustainability reporting and future environmental legislation.

Speaking about Ireland’s wave and wind resources, D’Arcy pointed to Ireland’s “significant” natural advantages.

“We need to seriously examine the potentially huge and sustainable benefits that can accrue if we choose to properly develop these assets within a new green economy for Ireland,” said D’Arcy.

However, he said the first step is to generate a public debate about what needs to be done and he called for strong political leadership.

“Public engagement, backed by honest politics, does bring real change, as evidenced by the sea changes which took place to make drinking and driving, and smoking in pubs socially unacceptable,” said D’Arcy.

Climate law and Ireland

D’Arcy said “an effective climate law” would be what he termed a “cornerstone” of Ireland’s economic, social and environmentally sustainable recovery.

Such a climate law, according to D’Arcy, would position Ireland as a hub for green enterprise, investment and innovation.

“It will give businesses and householders the certainty they need to invest in low-carbon technologies, confident that Government policies to reduce emissions will mean they save or make money in the medium term,” said D’Arcy.

Earlier this week, Bord na Móna reported a pre-tax loss of €2.9m in the year to March 2011. The semi-state company has been gradually diversifying away from peat production in recent times towards new ‘greener’ areas such as wind energy, biomass, and resource recovery. This week it blamed its pre-tax loss performance on the impact of a ‘significant’ impairment charge in AES, its waste-management subsidiary.

“We were also affected by one of the mildest winners in 23 years coupled with the temporary closure of the West Offaly Power station for a planned five-month refit,” said D’Arcy at the time.

Bord na Móna has made the decision to write down the value of AES by €23.1m, which it purchased in 2007 for €61m.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic