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Brussels in brief, WW200908

Wind energy in Ireland will create thousands of new jobs and lure billions in investments

20.08.2009

Nearly €15 billion will be invested in Ireland’s growing wind energy sector in the next 12 years, a new study has found. The report, ‘Jobs and Investment in Irish Wind Energy: Powering Ireland’s Economy’, also found that €5.1 billion of that total will be retained in the economies of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Put out by Deloitte and the Irish Wind Energy Association, the June report noted that 16% of Ireland’s total energy consumption is to come from renewable resources by 2020. As a result, Ireland has a target of 40% for renewable electricity’s share of electricity consumption.

“It is also envisaged that wind energy will provide the largest source of renewable energy in achieving this target and it is estimated that installed wind capacity will need to reach 7,800 megawatts (MW) on the whole island of Ireland to achieve these targets by 2020,” the report’s executive summary noted, adding 6,500 MW will be likely be located in the Republic of Ireland and 1,300 MW in Northern Ireland.

The report said that by early 2009, there was 1,320 MW of installed wind energy capacity across the island of Ireland. In order to reach the 2020 target, another 6,480 MW will be required to be installed.

“The majority of these will come from the larger scale turbine installations which have occurred over the last number of years but will also come from a new growing market for the installation of small scale turbines (“microgeneration”),” the report added. “Based on these estimates of MW to be installed, the Irish wind energy sector to 2020 is capable of supporting more than 10,760 jobs through direct and indirect involvement in the sector.”

The report said other opportunities in the wind energy sector are also becoming apparent, such as grid development upgrade works, pump storage, energy exports and electric transport.

It also said construction provides most of the job opportunities in the wind energy sector.

“Offshore wind development requires significant construction inputs in order to develop the large scale wind farm projects planned. It is estimated that there will be in excess of 7,250 jobs that can be supported by the construction element of wind energy projects,” the report says.

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