Cleantech sector targeted for growth

Ireland is eyeing up the next wave of foreign direct investment by signing a bilateral agreement to boost the budding cleantech sector and secure future jobs.

Cleantech is any technology that optimises the use of finite resources for long-term economic and environmental sustainability.

The umbrella term includes renewable technology, smart metering, advanced materials, nanotechnology, and areas of biotechnology.

It is expected that the sector will provide 29,000 jobs in Ireland by 2015, according to the Export Group on Future Skills Needs.

However, according to Ronan Furlong, director of operations and communications at Ireland’s cleantech cluster, the Green Way, said that this was a conservative estimate.

“That’s a conservative figure based on research by Forfás. I think it will be a lot higher,” he said.

The new agreement signed yesterday between the Green Way and the Environmental Business Cluster (EBC) in San Jose, California, will lead to a dramatic increase in research and development, business development and investment opportunities for Irish and San Jose companies looking to access US and EU cleantech markets.

Tony Boyle, Green Way chief executive, said: “This agreement is a concrete example of our mission to create jobs and international trade opportunities for Dublin cleantech companies, as well as attracting the next generation of cleantech companies from [Silicon] Valley into Ireland.”

A number of Irish firms are already establishing themselves as players in the cleantech. These include OpenHydro, a wave energy company; Icon semiconductors, a microchip company; and Solar print, an internal solar sensor company.

Seán Giblin, managing director of Cylon, a Dublin-based cleantech company within the Green Way, said: “The link between the Green Way and the EBC aligns with the growth strategy for our business, particularly in the US.

“We have recently expanded into the US, and are looking at ways to establish a footprint in Silicon Valley and gain access to the cleantech markets, investors and technology partners there.

“This agreement will directly facilitate our goals, and those of other Irish cleantech companies.”


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