Potential for 20,000 jobs in wind energy with state backing

The Government could potentially create 20,000 jobs in the renewable energy sector by 2040, according to two of the country’s most prominent wind energy groups.

The Irish Wind Energy Association (IWEA) and The National Offshore Wind Energy Association (NOW Ireland) claim to have identified a number of steps the Government could take to develop “substantial” wind-power projects.

At a jointly-held meeting in Arklow, County Wicklow today, November 8, the two bodies discussed how Ireland can exploit its windy coasts, which they claimed would regenerate local ports, create highly-skilled jobs, and bring about billions of euro in investment.

However, they accused successive governments of not doing enough to develop offshore energy projects.

According to IWEA and Now Ireland, there are potentially 4,000 to 5,000 megawatts (MW) of energy to be harnessed around the coast, which, they say, will be enough to decarbonise our economy.

According to David Connolly, chief executive officer IWEA, Ireland has seen “some of the best offshore wind energy resources go unused”.

“While other countries have forged ahead, using offshore wind energy as a core part of their transition to low-carbon economies, Ireland has fallen behind,” he added.

Meanwhile, Paddy Teahon, chairman of NOW Ireland, said: “With the Government actions identified in the recent reports from KPMG and Cornwall Insights, these projects could deliver around 1,000MW of capacity in the immediate future, and an additional 3,000MW by 2030.

“We are an island nation, with extensive territorial waters. We see other countries in northern Europe revitalising coastal communities through investment in offshore wind energy. It’s time for Ireland to take this opportunity,” he added.