‘East Coast Smart Green Growth’ conference

Smart investment in our energy infrastructure and its’ stimulus in the development of green enterprises  will be discussed at a half-day conference organised by Dundalk Chamber on Thursday next, June 9,at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, in association with Louth Economic Forum and the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI).

The conference- East Coast Smart Green Growth – will be chaired by Louth Economic Forum Chairperson, Padraic White, a former chief executive of the Industrial Development Agency (IDA. Mr White stated “creating an environment for indigenous or foreign direct investment companies to research, develop, trial and manufacture smart energy technologies will be pivotal to Ireland’s return to growth. I firmly believe the Louth Economic Forum, in conjunction with its partners, the Dundalk Chamber of Commerce and the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland, are creating this environment for the east coast region.

The Louth Economic Forum was established in 2009 under the auspices of the County Development Board and it brings the business sector of county Louth, the local authority management and all of the State agencies that interact with those generating economic activity in the county and is a one stop shop for potential investors. The Forum has devised an overall 10 Point Plan identifying 10 specific areas to be addressed within its work programme over the next 3 years. One specific task was the publication of Louth’s Sustainable Energy Action plan, which has a vision to “position Louth as Ireland’s first Smart Green County leading the way to a sustainable energy future.” The purpose of the action plan is “to help sustain, support and create jobs through developing the concept of Louth as a leader in the delivery of the Green Economy.”

The development of Louth’s Sustainable Energy Action Plan, by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) builds on the successful Dundalk 2020 project. Louth Local Authorities partnered with SEAI to develop the first Sustainable Energy Community in Ireland, Dundalk 2020 has stimulated the development of projects spanning multiple sectors and including exemplary buildings, industrial energy process efficiency and renewable energy generation and storage. The Dundalk Sustainable Energy Community has created a living laboratory where smart energy technologies and techniques are provided with a controlled environment to allow for trial and testing.

The Sustainable Energy Action Plan identified six sustainable energy actions for county Louth and all six actions are in progress. One action has had significant success; an energy management intern programme to support 60 businesses was developed under the FAS work placement programme.  Phase 1 of the energy intern programme engaged 12 energy interns to support 45 businesses, who have made energy savings of €250,000 with further savings of €700,000 anticipated.
Speakers at next Thursday’s half day conference will include Brendan Halligan, Chair of SEAI, who will outline ‘Sustainable Energy Opportunities’ followed by Minister Fergus O’Dowd speaking on the New ERA Focus.

How to capitalise on ‘Offshore – Ireland’s Export Opportunity’ will be revealed by Brian Britton of NOW Ireland, the National Offshore Wind Energy Association of Ireland, who will be followed by John Barry, Managing Director of Bord Gais Eireann speaking on how ‘Infrastructure is the Key’.

The final session of the day will be delivered by Bob Hanna of the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources who will speak on the ISLES Project, a collaboration between the Scottish Government, the Northern Ireland Executive and the Government of Ireland, ISLES is currently assessing the feasibility of creating an offshore interconnected transmission network and subsea electricity grid based on renewable energy sources off the coast of western Scotland and the Irish Sea, due for completion this year.

As well as identifying the challenges in creating, storing and transporting the electricity created from these renewable sources, ISLES can also help pave the way for renewable energy and carbon reduction targets to be met and assist in the economic development of the relatively peripheral coastal areas in each of the three partner countries.

To book a place on the ‘East Coast Smart Green Growth’ conference contact Kate in Dundalk Chamber at (042) 9336343 or e-mail Kate@dundalk.ie. The conference fee is a very reasonable €50 per person.