Marine energy could net 50,000 jobs

Min Sean Sherlock;  Professor Tony Lewis, MaREI; Georgina Foley, Beaufort Research and Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of SFI. Picture: Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision

Ireland could create more than 50,000 jobs, if there was an aggressive development of the marine renewable energy sector, according to Tony Lewis.

Speaking at the launch of a €29m research centre, Marine Renewable Energy Ireland (MaREI), at UCC, Prof Lewis said the opportunity to create jobs and solve a global energy security crisis was on Ireland’s doorstep. “Ireland is one of the best locations on the planet in terms of marine renewable energy resources,” he said. “MaREI will support Irish companies to deliver engineering solutions required to harness this potential.

“This will lead to significant job creation in the medium to long-term. Some economic studies have suggested that an aggressive development with export activity could lead to 51,000 jobs by 2030, but that really does need application.”

MaREI is being funded by €19m from the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation through Science Foundation Ireland, with a further €10.5m of funding coming from 45 industry partners.

The industry-academia research consortium has 45 industry partners, including Bord Gáis Energy, ESB Energy International, Intel, Siemens, DePuy, many other global market leaders, and indigenous SMEs in the area of energy, marine technology, software, and hardware.

Academic partners include lead partner UCC, along with University College Dublin, Cork IT, University of Limerick, NUI Galway, NUI Maynooth, Marine Institute, and Teagasc.

MaREI will directly support 77 jobs and has the potential to support the creation of significant employment in the long term through spin-out companies and intellectual property in the field of marine renewable technology and marine energy materials, devices, and solutions for industry.

Research minister Sean Sherlock said Ireland needed to return to first principals if the country is to return to growth. He said the Government was committed to creating a long-term, real, and sustainable industry which capitalised our natural resources.

Chairman of the Marine Renewable Industry Association Peter Coyle said that a study by Siemens had found that a third of Europe’s potential renewable energy assets are based in Ireland

The announcement of potential jobs comes as 410 people employed by Lufthansa Technik Airmotive Ireland may lose their jobs. The company entered a 30-day consultation process which may see the aircraft maintenance company close before Christmas.

There was some good news on employment, with Europe’s largest financial institution, Deutsche Bank, creating 700 jobs as part of a major expansion of its Irish operations.

Nestlé, meanwhile, announced the creation of 1,900 job “opportunities” for young people across Ireland and Britain over the next three years.

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