Galway to lead Ireland’s renewable energy ambitions renewable
Published in the Galway Independent on July 5, 2012 by Marie Madden @galwayindo
Speaking at the opening of the Sustainability Summit at the Volvo Ocean Race Global Village in Galway this morning, An Taoiseach discussed the opportunities facing Ireland in the agri-food sector, as well as Galway’s spearheading of innovation renewable energy initiatives.
He said that Ireland’s “unparalleled natural resources” in wind and ocean energy give the country a superb opportunity to export clean energy to the UK and rest of Europe.
“The Volvo sailors could tell us all about the power of wind, wave, tidal energy out there on the Atlantic. Galway, of course, is playing a key role in Ireland’s renewable energy ambitions,” he said.
“Much of the work in this exciting area is being assisted by our own Marine Institute, which is headquartered here in Galway and ably led by Peter Heffernan and his team. The locals here will know that Galway Bay is a very successful test site for wave energy devices, and supports some world-class technological innovation around renewable energy.”
He continued to add that Ireland has “clear opportunities” in relation to green finance, explaining that with investment in green-finance activities had increased to a record $263 billion globally in 2011, Ireland is emerging as a leader in green finance and asset management.
“We have a world class international financial services centre, innovative enterprise companies with global networks, an emerging talent pool of green finance specialists and one of the best business environments in the world. It’s easy to see how Ireland can benefit by focusing on opportunities in green finance,” he said.
He highlighted the strategy for the international financial services sector to 2016, including the “ambitious goal” of developing Ireland as a centre of excellence in green finance. However, he added that the challenge was not just to manage green finance on behalf of global investors but also to stimulate investment into Ireland’s own green economy.
“We recently published a plan on Green Public Procurement. Given that the annual procurement budget for the public sector is about €14 billion, over ten per cent of Ireland’s GDP, Ireland’s public sector can play a very significant role in stimulating the marketplace to provide more resource-efficient, less polluting goods and services.
“Ireland has a strong R&D base, which is crucial for developing innovative energy efficient products and energy management systems. Our enterprise development agencies are actively supporting a range of companies engaged in the cleantech and greentech sectors, with great success stories.”