Local companies encouraged to penetrate global sustainable energy markets

Local businesses can capitalise on the export opportunities arising from the rapid global growth in the sustainable energy sector, particularly during the current economic downturn.

That was the theme of an Invest Northern Ireland workshop today during which leading experts from the USA’s renowned National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) addressed more than 70 delegates from local companies and the two universities.

The NREL is the USA’s primary agency for R&D in renewable energy and energy efficiency. Dr Lawrence Murphy and Dr John Ashworth from the organisation set out the significant global market opportunities that are emerging in these sectors and discussed ways in which local companies can profit from this.

Delegates then had the opportunity to hold focussed one-to-one meetings with Dr Murphy and Dr Ashworth, who help to manage the NREL’s annual research budget of over $350 million and engage directly with some of America’s leading industry players.

Olive Hill, Invest NI’s Director of Technology and Process Development, said: “Governments across the world are setting challenging targets for the proportion of their energy supply that must be generated from renewable sources. Parallel to this is the growing need for energy from conventional fuel sources to be generated and used in the most efficient way possible.

“Despite the current global economic downturn, market conditions in these areas are presenting major commercial and research opportunities for innovative local companies. In recognition of this, Invest NI commissioned a report from the Energy Scoping Research Group to assess the opportunities available.

“The report, Maximising Business Opportunities from Sustainable Energy, is launched today and sets out how collaboration between industry, government and academia here will maximise the potential value of this sector to the local economy.”

Ms Hill added: “We are delighted that Dr Murphy and Dr Ashworth could participate in today’s event. Their advice and wealth of experience are an invaluable source of inspiration for local companies seeking to gain a foothold in the lucrative and growing sustainable energy market.”