Sustainable energy is important for protecting and supporting jobs in Ireland. That was the message from a conference focussed on sustainable energy and jobs hosted by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) and SIPTU at Croke Park today. 200 business leaders and major Irish employers attended the conference aimed at raising awareness of the jobs potential associated with sustainable energy and how Ireland can best maximise this.
Addressing the conference, Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Pat Rabbitte, T.D., said: “We are committed to Ireland meeting its 20% renewable and energy efficiency targets by 2020. In doing so it is critical that we equip our construction sector workforce, now badly hit by redundancy, with new skills so that it can evolve into a customer-focused, highly motivated, quality driven workforce in the continually-expanding sustainable energy sector.”
Commenting Dr Brian Motherway, Chief Executive of SEAI said: “Sustainable energy is relevant to all types of jobs, whether it’s about reducing costs or looking at new technologies. Businesses are now realising that they need to think about energy and prepare for the future by cutting energy use and enhancing competitiveness.”
Dr Motherway continued, “In the last five years Irish companies have cut their energy bill by over €150 million. That equates to significant bottom line savings and many jobs being protected in the process.”
Jack O’Connor, SIPTU General President commented: “The trade union movement has been advocating a jobs and investment strategy as an essential prerequisite for economic recovery. The energy sector clearly offers important potential for job creation and retention through a nationally rolled out retro-fitting programme for homes and businesses, the reduction of energy costs through efficiencies and the creation of new jobs by the existing utilities and through the new renewable technologies.”
Key speakers at the conference included Chief Executives: Sean O’Driscoll (Glen Dimplex); John Shine (ESB); John Mullins (Bord Gáis); and Sean O’Sullivan (SOS Ventures), as well as Business Development Director Gary Treanor (Kingspan), and Sustainability Manager Audrey O’Shea (Glanbia).