Ireland has more than three times its total energy requirements available from readily accessible renewable energy sources on its own doorstep. Yet despite access to such vast and plentiful clean energy resources, Ireland is still heavily dependent on volatile foreign fossil fuel, importing almost 90% of its energy needs.
As conventional energy sources run out Ireland has therefore an extraordinary opportunity to use its own natural resources, in a cost competitive way, to achieve energy independence and become a world leader in the use of clean energy. That was the key message delivered earlier today at NovaUCD, University College Dublin’s Innovation and Technology Transfer Centre, by author John Travers at the launch of his new book entitled ‘Green & Gold – Ireland a Clean Energy World Leader?’
Conclusions outlined in the book include that 20% of total Irish energy needs can be met by renewable energy within the next ten years and 80% by 2050 and that 20% of Irish GDP can be derived from clean energy exports.
In this new book, published by The Collins Press, John Travers discuses the role energy plays in the Irish economy and lifestyle, the country’s consequent thirst for imported oil and how an energy crisis that could ravage the nation may be avoided.
He then assesses in clear terms, practical energy alternatives using renewable sources such as wind, solar, wave and biomass, which would allow Ireland to meet all of its energy needs and achieve energy independence. This would provide an opportunity for Ireland to become a global beacon in the use of clean energy.
“Clean energy can help rescue Ireland from its current economic and energy challenges. In achieving energy independence, Ireland can become an outstanding world leader and a global beacon for the use of clean energy. Ireland is endowed with winds that are among the strongest in the world and the waves that crash against our western seaboard are some of the most powerful on the planet. Harnessing these and other clean energy sources such as solar and biomass offers Ireland a golden opportunity to overcome the energy challenge it face,” says John Travers. “There is the potential to create almost 100,000 jobs from harnessing renewable energy and applying energy efficiency activities.”
According to John Travers, the cost to achieve the first practical step of a 20% renewable energy contribution and implement basic energy efficiency measures in Ireland is estimated to be Eur15 billion invested over 10 years. The primary return on this investment would be achieved from national and export sales of renewable energy. Additional annual returns in the order of Eur1.2 billion (eg from reduction in cost of importing oil, reduction in costs associated with carbon dioxide emissions, trading of carbon credits, energy efficiencies and additional tax receipts) would also be achieved.
Furthermore, he points out that the wealth of Ireland’s accessible renewable energy is similar in scale to production from the massive nation-shaping oil and gas fields of the North Sea or the Middle East, but instead of polluting and dwindling, it is clean and perpetual.
John Travers is an international energy expert. He is an engineering graduate of University College Dublin and a MBA graduate of Harvard University. He has previously worked for Shell International and McKinsey & Company. He is currently chief executive of Alternative Energy Resources, a leading Irish alternative energy company, headquartered in NovaUCD the Innovation and Technology Transfer Centre at UCD. He is also the author of ‘Driving the Tiger, Irish Enterprise Spirit’.