Global investment in clean energy reached record levels of US$148bn, and the Irish Government has plans to position Ireland at the centre of innovation in this field, it emerged yesterday.
Addressing the Economist Business Roundtable, the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Eamon Ryan TD said that Ireland has a 40pc target for renewable energy over the next 12 years.
He said the country’s abundance of natural resources will be pivotal in putting it at the heart of developments in this area.
“The energy challenges we face are intimately tied to the availability of fossil fuels and climate change,” he told business and government leaders. “Part of the answer to both of these challenges lies in a strategic retreat away from fossil fuels and towards clean energy.”
Minister Ryan said the current Government has prioritised this retreat in its economic planning.
The move towards clean energy could also be a good indicator of where major technology industry players are placing their money, with players like Google, Microsoft and IBM already revealing a passionate interest in the area.
“Where there is retreat from the old ways, there are opportunities for the new. The Government is positioning Ireland as a centre for sustainable economic growth.”
Minister Ryan said that last year, global investment in clean energy reached record levels of US$148bn – 60pc higher than in 2006.
According to New Energy Finance, investment between now and 2030 is expected to reach US$450bn a year.
“Performance in this sector during 2007 shows it is on track to reach these levels. The current financial turmoil has tested the market’s resolve, but has not dislodged it from this sector.”
Minister Ryan said Ireland has some of the finest natural energy resources in the world. “We have a Government committed to realising this potential. We have a 40pc target for renewable energy over the next 12 years, government incentives and support, a functioning all-island electricity system and plans for further interconnection to the UK and beyond.
“In these times of turmoil, investment should look for stable returns. Energy and Ireland are a safe, long-term bet.
“This Government is planning our economic recovery and we want future growth to be sustainable. The green economy will provide us with the jobs, investment and energy security of the future,” Ryan said.
By John Kennedy
Pictured: Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Eamon Ryan TD