More than fifteen leading manufacturers of wind farm components and transmission technology met today in Tullamore to discuss the potential of setting up a local supply chain in the midlands worth a least 7 billion euro. More than 400 delegates attending the event hosted by Offaly County Council in partnership with Mainstream Renewable Power heard how the midlands could adopt existing German and Danish models by manufacturing and assembling the materials locally, transforming the midlands into a manufacturing hub for the UK and Europe.
Between 2016 and 2020 Mainstream’s 5,000 megawatt Energy Bridge alone will require 1,700 turbine towers, 5,000 blades, 1,700 nacelles, 16,000 kilometres of inter-array cabling, 1,700 converters, 30 electrical substations and 400km of HVDC underground cables. Rather than importing these materials, which are worth well in excess of €7 billion, as is currently the case; the plan is to attract these manufacturers to set up base in Ireland employing tens of thousands of people locally.
Today Ireland has approximately one thousand operating wind turbines with a capacity of about 2,000 megawatts. The industry currently employs 1.5 people for each megawatt installed, capturing just a fraction of the total employment potential. By adopting models which are currently in place in Germany, Denmark and the US, Ireland could directly employ anywhere between 4 and 8 people per megawatt installed by establishing an indigenous manufacturing base.
Speaking and exhibiting at the event were global players such as Siemens, ABB, Compton Greaves, XEMC, Enercon, GE, Alstom, LM Blades, Coen Steel, Goldwind, Prysmian, JSchneider Electric, Nordex, Yokogawa, Ventower, Mott McDonald and SIAC Construction. Also speaking at the event were Intertrade Ireland, The IFA, the Construction Industry Federation, Tullamore Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise Ireland and the IDA.
Speaking at the event Eddie O’Connor, Chief Executive of Mainstream Renewable Power said:- “These are the world’s leading manufacturers of wind energy and transmission technologies speaking here today. Their message is clear – if we can show them line of sight to enough megawatts they will locate here. This is a game changer for Ireland – it is already being done successfully in other countries so we really need to focus on making this happen.
He continued: “This is about taking the wind that is blowing feely above our heads and turning it into a multi-billion euro industry with tens of thousands of jobs. Unemployment in the midlands is more than 3% above the national average so this has the potential to make a real difference in an area that needs it most.”