Minister Joan Burton meets Irish renewable entrepreneurs in the US as Green International Financial Services Centre (GIFSC) announces June Chicago seminar

Chicago MinBurton1

March 14, 2013

During her visit to the United States this week Minister Joan Burton met with some of Ireland’s most successful companies in Chicago who are working with GIFSC to help increase business back home and create jobs.

Minister Burton, speaking from Chicago, said: “I am delighted to meet representatives from one of Ireland’s most successful sectors. The Irish Government has targeted the Green Economy as a major opportunity for growth, competitiveness and employment creation for Ireland and these are some of the companies leading the way.”

The Government’s recent Action Plan for Jobs 2013 highlights the fact that Ireland’s natural environment, coupled with its strong research base and a number of leading-edge companies, “provides us with extensive opportunities for development of the Green Economy in areas as diverse as renewable energy, sustainable food production, tourism, environmental resource management, “Green” financial services, and resource and energy-efficient products and services”.

Mike Hayes, Chairman of the GIFSC’s Global Green Asset Management Network which was launched at the New York Stock Exchange last March, said: “For the past 12 years a number of the leading Irish renewable companies have been using Chicago as a base for investing into the US green sector. Notable examples include Airtricity which built up a US renewable business based in Chicago from nothing until it was sold for $1 billion to E.ON in 2007.

“Other Irish companies have continued to use Chicago as a base to invest in the sector including Mainstream Renewable Power, Gaelectric Holdings Plc and NTR Plc. One key consequence has been the growth in expertise in the sector for Irish companies which has resulted in significant job opportunities in Ireland, the US and elsewhere as this expertise is an exportable service to the global market. It has also helped to foster a culture of encouraging other Irish corporates taking similar investment decisions in the US and elsewhere in this sector. In many ways, this is similar to the way in which Ireland has become the leading location for aircraft leasing globally”.

He explained that the enterprise sector combined with Ireland’s US$3 trillion funds industry was crucial to GIFSC achieving the goal of dramatically increasing green assets under management in Ireland. “It is these entrepreneurs who understand the industry and the underlying technologies and are being increasingly utilized by traditional asset managers to make the investment decisions globally.”

For example, financial powerhouse Blackrock has set up its renewable power investment group in Ireland following the formation of a strategic relationship agreement comprising of a number of key renewable power principals from NTR joining the BlackRock Alternative Investors (“BAI”) investment platform.

Ireland’s GIFSC is a public/private initiative tasked with the positioning and promotion of Ireland as the world’s leading centre of excellence for green finance as part of Government strategy for growing Ireland’s green economy.

It works closely with the international financial services centre, the renewable enterprise sector and policymakers to ensure Ireland has the most attractive business environment to allow green finance to flourish.

GIFSC is to visit Chicago this June to help attract business to Ireland and create jobs. It has targeted the green asset management space as a core focus in a bid to grow assets from today’s US $20 billion to $200 billion by 2017.

Research indicates that GIFSC activity could create up to 900 jobs.



Picture Captions: (l-r) Saad Qais, Mainstream Renewable Power, David Boyce, Wind Capital Group, Aine Collins, T.D., Eamonn McGrath, Gaelectric, Joan Burton, Minister for Social Protection, Aiden Cronin, Irish Consul, Chicago, Lowell Huth, PwC, Ciara O’Callaghan, KPMG

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