Fine Gael Dublin Senator, Catherine Noone, is urging the Government to work on implementing the Delivering Our Green Potential policy statement which was published in 2012. Senator Noone’s suggestion follows an Oireachtas Environment Committee discussion on new climate change laws which are due to come into effect. The new legislation aims to help Ireland become more environmentally friendly and to reduce our carbon footprint.
“With new climate change laws coming into effect soon, now is the time to be expansive and think about how we can use these laws to create opportunities for SMEs and for green technology in Ireland.
“The Expert Group on Future Skills Needs estimated that up to 10,000 extra jobs can be created in six key sub-sectors of the green economy by 2015, if progress was made in addressing key policy challenges. It is now up to us to ensure, as set out in the Action Plan for Jobs 2013, that we are addressing them systematically and are working towards job creation.
“Companies in the green economy are not concentrated in any one location in Ireland. However, in this relatively early stage, it may be worthwhile working to create regional goals and building a hub specifically for expertise on sustainable energy – for instance, the goal of a county creating 100% of its own energy by means of renewables.
“Ireland, lest we forget, has binding EU targets in place to deliver 16% of its overall energy from renewable sources by 2020. Within this overall target, 40% of our electricity will be met from renewables. We need to get to work towards achieving these goals nationally.
“Limerick Cleantech and the Green Way walking and cycling route in County Mayo are examples of green initiatives that have both been successful so far. However, we need further innovation here to develop this sector, and I believe by creating a county-based goal, and working to create a renewable energy hub based around that, we can contribute further. We see the same approach in technology in Ireland, and in health with the ambition for a National Health Innovation Hub – so why not for sustainable energy?”