Life Sciences and Energy

Ireland’s economy will benefit from greater use of clean energy

By Business & Finance
29 May 2015
wind energy stock

Job benefits of bioenergy sector could double if local resources are used, a new report shows.

New reports published today by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) show that using our indigenous renewable energy resources to meet renewable energy targets could boost Ireland’s GDP and support thousands of new jobs. Ireland will also reduce its fossil fuel dependency and greenhouse gas emissions.

In particular, the analysis shows that, in the case of bioenergy, the jobs potential doubles to 5,500 if we use locally sourced biomass such as by-products of the wood and forest industries and energy crops.

Speaking on the publication of the reports, Dr Eimear Cotter, SEAI head of low carbon technologies, said: “We import huge amounts of fossil fuels every year and yet we have rich, local and clean resources that we could use instead to better meet our energy needs. Renewable energy offers a strong opportunity to quickly create new jobs in Ireland, in particular in agriculture and forestry from local sourcing of biomass.”

Continuing, Dr Cotter commented: “In meeting our binding greenhouse gas emissions and energy commitments, we have choices to make. This detailed analysis allows us to understand the costs and benefits of these choices. In particular it shows how important it is that we play to our strengths, in this case local and clean energy resources which should be exploited to the benefit of Irish society and the economy.”

SEAI’s sustainable energy economic model is based on detailed information on the structure of the Irish economy and population demographics.

This model was used to assess the impact of renewable technology investment on the economy; the anticipated investment to 2020, sufficient to meet our renewable targets, was compared with a hypothetical scenario where no further investment takes place post-2013.

Key insights include:

  • Greatest economic benefits arise when we use bioenergy for heat and wind energy for electricity
  • Job benefits of bioenergy sector double if local resources are used
  • When businesses and homeowners use renewable energy – for example, bioenergy to meet heat demand – they have greater control over their energy costs 
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