Green challenges are government challenges

2 Oct 2009

In his keynote speech at the IRCSET Symposium 2009, Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Eamon Ryan, talked about the very real green challenges facing us today, and what the government is doing right now to tackle this whilst aiding job creation.

The Government’s new Smart Economy strategy aims to encourage a Smart Society with a measurable target of 30,000 new jobs in the technology sector through digital and clean technology, set for the next five to 10 years.

Here is the Government’s six-point plan for a Smart Economy:

1. Building an Exemplar Smart Communications Network

The report includes a six-point plan of action that begins with the building of a next-gen fibre-optic network, as was detailed in the announcement for more than 350 jobs at Intune Networks.

2. Energy-efficient Data Centres and Cloud Computing

Further to this, there will be a focus on energy-efficient data centres and cloud computing – the Government wants to position Ireland as a hub for green data centres, as well as replicate the success of Cork-based EMC, whose cloud computing data-storage services supports 1,700 jobs.

This sets a target of 10,000 high-value jobs to be created within this area over the next five to 10 years.

3. International Content Services Centre (ICSC)

The third action is to establish Ireland as an International Content Services Centre (ICSC). What this means is that content creation, such as digital media, animation, films, games and so on are a focus, as are other related areas, including legal services for the digital space.

4. Smart electricity networks

Fourth on the list is the smart electricity network – the Government said it plans to roll out an electricity network that allows for a two-way flow of electricity, while the ESB has committed to developing an electric vehicle-charging system to satisfy electric vehicle targets set by the Government.

5. WorkFlow

Smart traffic systems will also be developed within the WorkFlow concept. This will involve using web-enabled mobile traffic sensors and communication tools regarding traffic congestion while lowering carbon emissions.

In addition, it will involve live feeds of real-time estimates of commute times for workers to better choose travel times, and this will be rolled out in 2010 with the assistance of the Department of Transport.

6. Smart Bay

The final action involves Smart Bay, a project supported by IBM and Intel that aims to establish a Marine Research, Test and Demonstration Platform in Galway Bay.

This will further environmental research by linking surface and underwater sensors and networks to enable environmental research.

Aside from understanding marine ecosystems, this data will be used for new oil and gas exploration, as well as giving advanced information on coastal flooding, storm surges and rising sea levels.

While only in pilot scheme right now, it will transition to a full-scale national platform with upgraded fibre and wireless throughout 2010-11.