Renley  participates in Major Energy Conference in Scotland.

During an unprecedented Energy Conference held in late 2009 in Edinburgh, the Energy Ministers from Scotland, Ireland and Northern Ireland  joined business and other leaders to discuss common challenges and opportunities facing the energy and electricity sectors in the three jurisdictions.

The conference, which was organised by the Joint Council  of the Irish Business Employers’ Confederation (IBEC) and the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) highlighted key areas for increased co-operation to meet ambitious energy targets which have been set by the EC and respective governments. The conference also discussed the huge potential which currently exists for significant investment in the renewable energy industry which in itself would lead to increased competitiveness and employment.

The development of renewable energy and the security of electricity supply were two of the main issues discussed  and the need for  much closer integration between the  electricity markets on both islands was highlighted as a key priority. Of critical importance in achieving the energy targets will be increasing the co-operation between the various players, developing the renewable energy research capability and capacity,  and fully exploiting all new technologies related to wave, tidal and wind resources.

In his opening remarks, Reg McCabe , the Chief Executive of the IBEC-CBI Business Council said that key areas for action will  be the improvement of access to electricity grids access and  the review and implementation of appropriate  planning legislation to maximise both on-shore and off-shore wind generation while also exploring the potential of the Irish Sea and Atlantic seaboards as hubs for wave and tidal  energy. Delegates were asked to consider the benefits of setting up a cross-regional research and development partnership focused on commercialising emerging technology.

The conference was addressed by  Scotland’s Energy Minister, Jim Mather, MSP, the Irish Energy Minister, Eamon Ryan , TD,  and  the  Northern Ireland Assembly Minister, Arlene Foster, MLA , as well as representatives from  various business organisations, the European Commission and the International Energy Agency. Other speakers included Ian Marchant,  Chief Executive,  Scottish and Southern Energy ; Richard Bradley, Head of Energy and Environment Division of the International Energy Agency ; Helen Donoghue, Principal for Energy Policy and Security of Supply Unit in the European Commission  and Garreth Williams, Energy Policy Manager  of the Scottish Council for Development and Industry (SCDI).

In his address, Minister Ryan remarked that  “ in energy, like in any policy area, co-operation is crucial. Ireland, like Scotland and Northern Ireland, has vast renewable resources that we must develop to our environmental and economic gain. Working together will help us to realise our ambitions and further develop our global reputation in the clean energy sector “  and he went on to state that “This energy summit provides a valuable platform to plan for future energy opportunities and challenges. I look forward to discussing these with my Ministerial counterparts and business leaders.”  

Following the  presentations  a  very wide ranging discussion took place concerning  the many issues raised during the presentations and contributions were made by a large number of conference delegates.

In his closing address to the conference Declan McGrath , Managing Director, Renley Ltd. summarised the key outcomes of the seminar. These included:

·         The need for  action to be taken to facilitate an early harmonisation of the electricity market  between the Ireland and the U.K. to enable  a larger regional energy market to be implemented as quickly as possible.

·         Further interconnection and development of electricity grids need to be undertaken  to ensure adequate capacity requirements are achieved. Other funding options should also be considered including joint approaches for  EU funding for relevant projects , Private Finance Initiatives, and the  introduction of  more competitive tendering options.

·         Energy conservation is critical at both industry and domestic level and practical initiatives to achieve  this needs to be given increasing priority.

·         Both  islands , while on the periphery of Europe, have enviable renewable resources  which,  if fully exploited, can bring them centre stage on an European and  international basis . EU support  should be sought to maximise the use of these resources as their development can be a major contributor to the EU reaching its medium term  energy renewable targets.

·         Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland need to assess pro-actively the R&D capability which exist within their respective universities and centres of excellence and work collectively on tri-partite energy related research projects in , for example, renewable technology.  This research can range from ‘ blue skies ’ research to R&D close to market commercialisation.  Industry should be linked and fully involved in this research so that it is commercialised and is consistent with industry needs.

·          It was agreed that an action plan should be drawn up outlining the key actions required and main priorities to be addressed.  All actions should be set against timescales with responsibilities allocated to those who will lead and implement these actions as well as identifying the associated costs and funding requirements.  


Renley Ltd.  participates in ‘Renewable Energy’ Workshop

in the North West of Ireland.

The potential to develop the North West of Ireland as a ‘renewable energy’ region is enormous and should be examined in detail in light of current energy costs. This was the theme of a ‘Renewable Energy Development’ Workshop which  took place recently  in Derry, Northern Ireland.

The workshop, which was chaired by Declan McGrath, Managing Director, Renley Ltd.,  considered a variety of issues which included the local economic impact of renewable energy projects, current planning procedures for wind farm development and the associated projected infrastructural investment in electricity grids Those attending the workshop included representatives from industry, local government, state agencies as well as third level educational institutions. Presentations were made by wind energy companies ( Airtricity ; Rockall Marine ), Northern Ireland Electricity ( the electricity distribution company in Northern Ireland ), The Northern Ireland Department of the Environment and  Donegal County Council

Martin McGuinness,  Deputy First Minister Northern Ireland Assembly, delivered the key note address in which he stressed that renewable energy had a vital role to play in developing the local economy.

Pictured at the workshop (Left to

Mr. Brian Ambrose, Chief Executive, George Best Belfast City Airport.

Mr. Martin McGuinness,  U.K. Member of Parliament & Deputy First Minister Northern Ireland Assembly.

Declan  McGrath, Managing Director, Renley Ltd, & Chairman for the Workshop.

Nigel Smyth,  Director , CBI Northern Ireland.

Speaking at the workshop, Reg McCabe, Chief Executive of IBEC-CBI, the cross border business organisation which organised the workshop, stressed the ongoing need for industry to reduce emissions and improve energy efficiency. In his address he referred to a recent survey, carried out by his organisation, of 600 businesses across the island of Ireland, which found that small businesses in particular were ambivalent on the extent to which they were prepared to take action to reduce carbon footprint and increase energy efficiency.  Mr McCabe went on to say that this was a major issue which needs to be addressed urgently and that changing this mindset would take a determined effort on the part of  government working in partnership with business organisations.

Following the workshop its main findings and policy recommendations were summarised and forwarded to Deputy First Minister for his consideration and evaluation.

Joint Business Council Meeting in Dublin Castle
Photo was  taken at a  recent IBEC-CBI  Joint Business Council Meeting in Dublin Castle
(IBEC= Irish Business and Employers Confederation | CBI = Confederation of British Industry)

Left  to right in photo
- Mr. Declan McGrath, M.D., Renley  Ltd.
- Mr. Ian Paisley Jnr. MLA, Junior Minister, Northenr Ireland Executive.
- Ms. Danuta Hubner,  European Comissioner for Regional Policy.
- Mr. Micheal Martin, TD,  Irish Minister for Enterprise & Employment
- Mr. Brian Ambrose, Chief Execurive, George Best Belfast City Airport.