35,000 wind power jobs could be created in Ireland, where renewables saved over $1 billion in 5 years
- 20 February 2014
LONDON: By expanding on its current 2020 target to install 400 megawatts of wind energy, Ireland has the potential to create 35,000 new jobs, a new report authored by Trinity College Dublin (TCD) and the Irish Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) reveals.
‘An Enterprising Wind; An Economic Analysis of the Job Creation Potential of the Wind Sector in Ireland’, highlights that by investing in 12 gigawatts of wind energy, 35,275 jobs could be created.
Indeed an investment in 4,400 megawatts (MW) alone could create 17,000 additional jobs in construction, engineering, manufacturing and IT.
If Ireland simply meets the 2020 target of 400MW of wind energy, 8,355 new positions would be created–twice as many jobs as exist in the sector presently.
However, the report, which was commissioned by Siemens and the Irish Wind Energy Association, is quick to note that considerable private sector investment would need to be pursued. Depending on the desired outcome, private support for the renewable venture would need to be somewhere between €7 billion (US$9.6 billion) and €29 billion (US$39.7 billion).
Renewables save Ireland €1billion
The ESRI/TCD report comes just days after the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) announced that Irish consumption of renewable energy in lieu of fossil fuels has resulted in massive savings since 2009.
Dr Brian Motherway, CEO of SEAI, noted that investment in sustainable, clean energy domestically has reduced the need to import fossil fuels, leading to a saving of over €1 billion (US$1.4 billion) in five years.
In 2012, 7% of Irish energy demands were met by renewable energy and Dr. Motherway is adamant that wind energy be prioritized going forward. Speaking at the launch of the SEAI’s annual report, he emphasized the financial gains associated with a low carbon economy: “This is all about making Ireland more energy independent–harvesting our own resources instead of importing the expensive resources of others.”
He added: “Less reliance on fossil fuels gives us greater certainty on our energy prices, rather than leaving us at the mercy of international commodity price rises. It also helps attract foreign investment, as more global companies seek access to clean energy as part of their location decisions.”
By Alana Ryan