Analysis by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) of the economic and enterprise benefits of the sustainable energy sector, states that over 20,000 jobs can be created within the sector over the next eight years to 2020. Currently 10,000 jobs are supported in the sector which has the potential to treble by 2020 by creating and supporting jobs, not only directly in renewable energy and energy efficiency (13,000 jobs), but also indirectly by enhancing business competitiveness (7,000 jobs).
“The sustainable energy sector offers significant benefits to Ireland, including; creating jobs, increased competitiveness and future proofing against upward price trends,” points Professor Owen Lewis, chief executive of SEAI. “The transition to sustainable energy is well underway, but the pace needs to accelerate for Irish society to truly benefit. Ireland has significant and growing strengths in the areas of energy efficient and renewable energy technologies; now business and policy makers must work together to deliver on the export potential that exists within these key areas.”
Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Pat Rabbitte, TD comments: “Sustainable energy is becoming the norm in Ireland and with that change comes many economic opportunities and jobs. Irish enterprises adopting sustainable energy practices are reducing costs, becoming more competitive, securing jobs and as a result are delivering real benefits in all sectors of our economy. “
The Government recently launched the Better Energy Workplaces Scheme 2012, a capital fund to support sustainable energy investments in 2012 in the public, commercial, industrial and community sectors. The fund will make available Eur7.5 million for projects that support energy performance contracting; a key element of Ireland’s National Energy Efficiency Plan. Public sector projects are particularly encouraged in order to assist in meeting the 33% public sector energy efficiency improvement target in 2020.
Indeed an impact report on Better Energy Workplaces 2011 shows that the State’s Eur11 million investment to support 85 organisational energy upgrades, will be repaid in energy savings in one year.