The findings of an independent Trinity College Dublin (TCD)/ Economic Social Research Institute (ESRI) report, commissioned by Siemens and the Irish Wind Energy Association (IWEA) to examine the job creation potential of the development of the wind energy sector in Ireland, were announced today and revealed the sector has the potential to generate up to 35,000 jobs across the economy.
TCD and the ESRI state that the overarching results of the report entitled ‘An Enterprising Wind; An Economic Analysis Of The Job Creation Potential Of The Wind Sector In Ireland’ suggest that continuing to grow the wind power industry in Ireland would have a substantial positive impact on the economy. Overall investment would amount to between between €7 and €29 billion depending on the level of ambition pursued and that this significant level of investment, combined with employment growth, would contribute significantly to Ireland’s economic growth.
The report analyses three different scenarios of Ireland’s installed wind capacity and the impact these scenarios would have:
Scenario 1: Ireland meets its binding current 2020 targets and installs 4000MW of wind energy – resulting in 8,355 jobs, more than doubling of the jobs numbers that currently exist in the sector.
Scenario 2: Ireland builds on the existing Irish target of 4000MW and also adds 4000MW of onshore and offshore wind energy capacity for export purposes – resulting in a total of 17,084 jobs.
Scenario 3: The most ambitious scenario, Ireland develops 12000MW of installed wind capacity through 4000MW of domestic capacity and an additional 8000MW dedicated for export capacity (onshore and offshore) resulting in a total of 35,275 jobs within the sector and other sectors of the economy (induced jobs) as a result of this investment (22,675 + 12,600 respectively).
In undertaking the research, the export components of Scenario 2 and 3 assume that the cost of this expansion of the wind industry is paid for through commercial revenue and with no investment required from the Irish state.
The report looks at the types of jobs that can be created and associated value in the coming years. The findings show that the bulk of the jobs would be created in the wind industry itself with a smaller but not insignificant number of jobs generated as a result of the investment in the grid and interconnection. Finally a macro-economic model is used to estimate the number of jobs that would be created elsewhere in the economy as a result of the enhanced level of economic activity.
The study suggests that the potential manufacturing jobs would offer a way back into the workforce for those currently unemployed and seeking entry level positions. In the same vein, a significant proportion of these jobs (about 35%) are likely to be generated in regions where employment
growth in an economic recovery may be slowest and where, as a consequence, unemployment may remain stubbornly high.
Commenting on the study Kenneth Matthews, CEO of the Irish Wind Energy Association (IWEA) said: “This independent study highlights the considerable potential the wind energy sector has to drive economic growth in Ireland and, most critically, creating local jobs in local communities
It is important now that all stakeholders and communities work closely together to grow the existing employment level of this sector from 3,400 to the potential that this report shows can be achieved for the benefit of all.”
Jobs created in the wind energy sector would span a range of areas including engineering, operation & maintenance, executive and commercial roles and roles for low skilled workers. The report highlights that Ireland has an existing comparative advantage in the design of IT systems and software, likely to be a fruitful field in the energy sector for future investment and employment.
According to Gary O’Callaghan, Head of Energy Sector, Siemens, Ireland is fortunate to enjoy one of the best onshore and offshore wind regimes in the world and the debate in wind energy needs to include the immense opportunities that harnessing this natural resource can bring. “The key motivation behind this report is to add independent academic and economic rigour to this debate, particularly where it relates to the job creation potential and macro-economic investment potential of the wind energy sector in Ireland. Wind energy will continue to assist in Ireland’s recovery while at the same time promoting responsible, sustainable and sensitive development.”
Challenges in reaching the industry’s full potential are identified and include national transport infrastructure delivery, role of exports and community support.
The independent academic study was researched and produced by Dr. Amy O’Mahoney of TCD and Prof. John FitzGerald of the ESRI. It is first of its kind as it is based on a detailed study of delivered wind energy projects in Ireland and other international studies into the economic impact of wind energy.
To download the full report please click on the following link: