A full cost benefit analysis is under way to determine if it is mutually beneficial for Ireland and the United Kingdom to enter an Inter-Governmental Agreement in early 2014 to facilitate trade in renewable energy. A key part of this analysis is the potential for job creation in Ireland.
A preliminary cost-benefit analysis completed by NewERA ahead of the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with the United Kingdom last January indicated employment creation arising from a 3 Gigawatt project would be expected to be in the order of 3,000 to 6,000 job years in the construction phase, with the actual number dependent on the construction schedule to 2020. NewEra also advised that there would be about €1 billion of construction spending on civil engineering works over 2 to 3 years. There would also be additional jobs created in the on-going maintenance of turbines over a 20-year operating life. Further employment opportunities would arise if turbines or components were manufactured in Ireland. All relevant State agencies, particularly in the enterprise area, will be required to co-ordinate their activities early in the process to ensure Ireland maximises the employment potential of export projects. This opportunity has already been identified by the IDA and Enterprise Ireland in their clean technology growth strategies.
Deployment of wind generation to meet our domestic targets has already begun to realise economic benefits. A recent Irish Wind Energy Association member survey indicated that 3,400 people are currently employed in the sector. Employment creation will be further strengthened as we continue to deploy renewable energy and related technologies for the domestic and, potentially, the export market. With Ireland's strong capabilities in areas such as engineering and ICT, there will also be opportunities to develop new products across the information technology, remote communications and software sectors.