What are the future opportunities and challenges for renewable energy? How is Northern Ireland doing in this area? And what business opportunities are presented through the need to move to a low carbon economy?
Over the next few months we’ll be looking at where Northern Ireland is in terms of renewable energy development, and what business opportunities are emerging for local companies.
Take a winter walk along the coast and it’s easy to see why Northern Ireland’s key natural energy resources are wind and wave/tidal.
Northern Ireland’s engineering, technological and construction expertise make it an ideal location for businesses focusing on the renewables and energy sector.
But it’s not just our excellent natural resources that make wind, wave and tidal power the obvious candidates for future energy generation. It’s also our skills base.
Northern Ireland has a lot to offer the renewable sector from world leading, pioneering research expertise to industry experience and skills. It has a highly valued advanced manufacturing heritage that continues to this day.
Our Renewables Sector and Cluster Development team focuses on helping local businesses access the supply chains of the renewable and conventional energy sectors. We are promoting Northern Ireland as a location for manufacturing, assembly and research to international renewable energy companies looking to make the most of the opportunities in the UK and Europe.
We’re also working to attract sub-contracting opportunities for local businesses along the supply chain and are involved in emerging sub sectors such as intelligent energy systems and energy storage.
A lot of our work involves building capability and setting up collaborative networks such as the SENSE Energy Storage Network, the Intelligent Energy Systems Network, the Energy Skills Training Network and the Global Wind Alliance.
Recently we hosted a visit from the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult, a centre of excellence for the UK's growing offshore renewable energy industry.