Invest NI event highlights massive commercial opportunities in sustainable industries

Invest Northern Ireland has highlighted the huge potential for local companies to profit from the $500 billion global energy and environmental industries.

Around 900 delegates from local business, government and academia attended Invest NI’s Energy & Environment Conference 09, the largest sustainable business event ever to take place in Northern Ireland.

Local and international industry experts delivered inspirational addresses and hosted focused workshops where attendees heard more about the huge demand for a diverse range of products and services in the sustainable sectors.

Tracy Meharg, Invest NI’s Managing Director of Innovation and Capability Development, said: “Stimulated by a need to secure diversity of power generation sources and promote environmental good practice, the global renewable energy and environmental sectors are flourishing. Northern Ireland companies are well placed to succeed in these sustainable industries, which are projected to be worth over $500 billion by 2013.

“Those local businesses with expertise in sectors as diverse as heavy engineering, composites, control systems, site investigation and many more areas, have the capacity to profit. The high standard of research and development capability that exists here can further support greater local involvement.”

Ms Meharg added: “Many local companies have already established a presence in the industry. Invest NI offers a range of support that can help these businesses achieve even more, as well as encourage others to target these markets for the first time. This could generate momentum within the sector locally and, in turn, help enhance Northern Ireland’s international reputation as a knowledge hub for the renewable industries.”

An Innovation Masterclass in the morning featured addresses from Tom Delay, Chief Executive of sustainable business organisation the Carbon Trust, and Tom Whitehouse, CEO of Carbon International, a consultancy that works with companies to finance and commercialise green technologies and services.

Expert-led workshops then examined specific aspects of renewable and environmental technologies, including wind, marine and bio energy; low carbon building technologies; water and environmental controls; and research and development (R&D).