Renewable energy can geneate major success for local firms

Over 100 local companies discovered how the multi-billion pound global renewable energy market is presenting many diverse and significant commercial opportunities, at an Invest Northern Ireland workshop today.

Driven by concerns around climate change and the need for security of supply, many governments around the world have committed to reducing reliance on fossil fuels and have set challenging targets for the generation of energy from renewable sources.

Speaking at the event in Limavady, Olive Hill, Invest NI’s Director of Technology and Process Development, highlighted how Northern Ireland companies can capitalise on renewable energy opportunities and play a major role in what is a rapidly growing market.

“With established expertise in areas such as precision engineering and composite materials, it is clear that local businesses have both the capability and potential to become global players in renewables. Invest NI is committed to enabling companies to build on this and generate real commercial return.

“We have just launched a range of promotional DVDs, for distribution to key industry influencers and buyers, that profile the local capability in the main renewable sectors. Also highlighted is the attractiveness of Northern Ireland as an investment location for international companies seeking to establish a development hub.

“With the range of renewable energy sources now available, including wind, marine and bio-energy, a multitude of diverse products and services are needed. These range from logistics and site investigation through to design and manufacture of turbines, ongoing operations and maintenance contracts, and more.

“Companies here can tap into this demand. Indeed, many are already doing so, as evidenced by both the strong attendance here today and the success of indigenous companies like B9 Energy and Limavady Gear.”

Ms Hill added: “Invest NI also offers a range of financial and advisory support to help companies explore the many possibilities for new technologies. Whether businesses are well experienced in R&D or completely new to it, we can assist in identifying and taking forward projects which can lead to lucrative commercial opportunities.

“We have supported local companies to learn and develop best practice through participation in major renewables trade shows in Austria and the USA. This has also helped them promote their capabilities to an international audience and establish valuable networking contacts, and further visits are planned over the coming months.”

Delegates at the event heard from industry experts about the opportunities that are arising within the wind, marine and bio-energy sectors. There were also focused group discussions on these areas in which delegates explored in more detail the possibilities for business development.