Wind energy deal ‘would create 47000 jobs by 2020′

March 27, 2014 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

Head of the Irish Wind Energy Association Kenneth Matthews.

– Published 27 March 2014 02:30 AM

More than 47,000 jobs would be created in the development of Ireland’s wind energy sector by 2020 if the country can progress a multi-billion euro plan to export energy to the UK, a major report predicts.


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The report, prepared by international consultancy group Poyry for groups including the Irish Wind Energy Association, Coillte, and electricity provider SSE, also forecasts that meeting ambitious energy export plans would see over €30bn invested in Ireland’s wind energy sector by 2030. The number of jobs Poyry has forecast is based on so-called ‘person years’, where one job is assumed to last for one year.

The study estimates that if Ireland can export wind energy to the UK, then the country will quickly become a net exporter of energy. By 2020, Ireland could be exporting €1.5bn a year worth of energy to the UK, with the figure rising to €2.8bn by 2030, according to Poyry.

There’s a plan to export wind energy from Ireland to help the UK meet its own renewable energy usage targets. However, the proposal is currently stalled.

In an interview with the Irish Independent today, the head of the Irish Wind Energy Association (IWEA), Kenneth Matthews, has called for a “rational discussion on energy and energy independence”. The IWEA holds its annual conference today.

Poyry notes that development of wind energy in Ireland – even without targeting energy exports – could deliver a cumulative €1.8bn in tax revenue to the Exchequer by 2030. That could hit €8.4bn if the country significantly expands its wind energy producing capacity in order to export to the UK.

Ireland must generate 40pc of its electricity output from renewable sources by 2020 in order to meet an EU-mandated target of producing 16pc of all energy requirements from renewable resources by then.

By itself, that 2020 target requires the near doubling of the current two gigawatts of installed wind energy producing capacity.

Poyry predicts that if Ireland only sticks to its own 2020 energy target there will be 12,390 construction jobs created between now and 2020, and 10,120 between 2021 and 2030.

If energy export to the UK becomes a reality, then the number of construction and development jobs would hit 47,240 on a person-years basis by 2020 and just over 38,000 between 2021 and 2030.

Bord na Mona, Element Power and Mainstream Renewable Power all have ambitious plans to spend a total of €26bn building wind farms in the hope of exporting electricity.

But plans to export the energy have hit a hurdle over issues including subsidies and connections. Officials from the British and Irish governments have been given three months to come up with a solution.

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