By Niall Ó Brolcháin, eGovernment Unit, Insight Centre for Data Analytics, NUI Galway
Galway Chamber’s energy conference in the Galway Bay Hotel on Friday 12th May 2017 provided many opportunities to talk about the Smart agenda in the West of Ireland.
Conor O’Dowd the president of Galway Chamber expects to see 30% more people living in Galway by 2050. He also said that Galway is due to become a nett exporter of renewable energy shortly.
James O’Hara of SSE stated that the development of Galway Wind Park will herald a huge increase in renewable electricity generation in the West of Ireland. It will involve 69 turbines, powering up to 84,000 homes and effectively replacing 190,000 tonnes of carbon generated electricity each year. The wind park near Moycullen will become Ireland’s largest onshore wind farm to date and will assist Galway in achieving the status of a net exporter of renewable energy.
Mark Foley of Coillte wants to ensure that his grandchildren do not experience a planet that’s in terminal decline. He believes that we should take a leaf out of Donogh O’Malley’s book and look for the biggest and best opportunities in the world in terms of energy and bring them to Ireland.
Eamon Ryan the Green Party leader wants a zero carbon society by 2050, not just a zero carbon energy sector and he would be happy to hug his colleague from Kerry, Danny Healy Rae TD to bring this about.
Pauline Leonard of the Western Development Commission stressed the need for balanced regional development in the energy sector. She was part of a panel discussion looking at the international perspective in terms of energy.
Minister of State for Natural Resources Seán Kyne TD, outlined the Government’s position on the energy sector and stressed how important this sector is to the region.
Brian Sheridan of the Galway Harbour Company and John Breslin of SmartBay were both very vocal on the Marine sector. There were discussions about offshore wind and the generation of wave and tidal power.
Maeve Joyce of Galway Chamber wrapped up a very successful conference and thanked everyone for coming.