By Gemma Childe on 1st Jun 2012
Renewable energy generators in the Republic of Ireland could export power to Britain in the future, creating more green jobs.
Pat Rabbitte, the Ireland's Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, raised the prospect of a partnership with the UK when launching his country's Strategy for Renewable Energy 2012-2020, which covers wind power, bio energy, wave and tidal power.
He said the Republic could end up exporting the same amount of electricity that it consumes every year to Britain in the coming years, and talks on an agreement will take place next month.
Mr Rabbitte will meet UK energy minister Charles Hendry to discuss an agreement that will cover electricity generated both onshore and offshore.
The two ministers have already considered opening Britain’s electricity market to generators operating in the Republic and Mr Hendry has said that his government would welcome Irish generated power.
Industry bodies including National Offshore Wind Ireland say that such an agreement would boost investment and job creation in the Republic.
The strategy document highlights that green energy and clean technology already support an estimated 19,000 jobs in the Republic.
Last year, an advisory body, the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs, said an extra 10,000 green jobs could be created in the sector by 2015 if the Government adopted appropriate policies.
The Republic uses between 6,000 and 7,000 megawatts (MW) of electricity. Wind farms currently have the capacity to generate over 1,600MW of this