Climate change challenge could generate thousands of jobs

14 Oct 2009

A new and emerging energy management industry could grow to employ thousands of Irish people if this country decides to play a leading role in climate change solutions, the National Standards Authority of Ireland and Sustainable Energy Ireland believe.

“All over the world, the environmental and energy-management sector is increasingly regarded as a potential field to create new employment, from providing energy-advice services, to energy auditing and energy education,” Maurice Buckley, chief executive, National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI), said.

Marking World Standards Day today, Buckley said Ireland already has considerable experience in developing world-class standards in energy management and have a growing industry around energy, well ahead of Europe.

“Ireland can play a leading role in climate-change solutions through developing energy standards and innovating in energy management, potentially creating thousands of jobs,” Buckley said.

Prof Owen Lewis, chief executive of Sustainable Energy Ireland (SEI), said Ireland has one of the highest take-ups in the world for certified energy management, with more than 80pc of the largest energy-using companies in Ireland already committed to the energy management standard I.S.393.

“These companies have avoided more than €50 million in energy costs in 2007 and we expect equally positive results in 2008. With the recent publication of the new European Energy Management Standard EN16001, a group of Irish-based companies are the first to implement this new standard in Europe.

“Companies such as Diageo in Dublin and Heinz in Dundalk are now exporting their energy-efficiency expertise to sister plants worldwide, which shows that Ireland is truly leading the way in energy management in the global arena.”

Since 1970, World Standards Day has been celebrated throughout the world. Its aim is to raise awareness of the importance of international standards and their role in helping meet the needs of all business sectors and, this year’s theme, ‘Tackling Climate Change through Standards’, aims to highlight how standards can protect and preserve the environment.

There are hundreds of standards that deal with energy and environmental management, the sampling, testing and analysis of air, water and soil, and contain information and recommendations on environmental aspects like materials, industrial processes, recycling and waste disposal.

Speaking at the launch of World Standards Day, the Minister for Trade and Commerce Billy Kelleher TD, said a key element of Government plans is to build a smarter, greener economy.

“There are huge global business advantages to developing more expertise in energy efficiencies and standards. Standards offer the world’s governments and industry the best possible benchmarks and allow all countries to take advantage of the knowledge and experience gained in more advanced economies.

“For example, NSAI’s Irish energy standard, I.S.393, was used as the base for the development of the new European energy management standard, EN 16001, for use among 27 EU counties, as well as Iceland, Switzerland and Norway,” Kelliher added.

By John Kennedy

Photo: Pictured at the launch of World Standards Day Wednesday, October 14, 2009, are Maurice Buckley, CEO, NSAI (National Standards Authority of Ireland), Billy Kelleher TD, Minister for Trade and Commerce, and Prof Owen Lewis of SEI (Sustainable Energy Ireland).

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years