The development of offshore wind in Ireland could be worth at least €38 billion to the economy, a new study has estimated.
However, the report produced for Green Tech Skillnet and Wind Energy Ireland by BVG Associates also warns that significant investment in training and skills will be required if the benefits are to be realised.
The delivery of 37GW of offshore energy is targeted by 2050 and the report claims the industry will require many more workers if the targets for the sector are to be achieved.
“Every offshore wind farm means new investment, high quality green jobs and greater energy security,” Noel Cunniffe, CEO of Wind Energy Ireland.
“This report identifies, in granular detail, the skills we need over the next two decades to transform our workforce to build not just Ireland’s offshore wind energy future but to compete internationally.”
“If Government and industry can work together to identify and invest in the right training initiatives, coordinate the work already underway in Education & Training Boards and third level institutions, and support Irish SMEs looking to get into the sector, then there is no limit to what we are capable of.”
The research also sets out roles that will be needed during each phase of development, including the top 42 roles in areas like project management, operations, maintenance and service activity.
The report recommends the establishment of a skills development fund to invest in private-public training partnerships.
Workers, particularly Irish nationals, will also have to be attracted from abroad to fill skills gaps.
Public education and private training providers will also need to ensure offshore specialisms are covered, while expert knowledge will have to be built in transmission systems.
“With programmes spanning wind, solar, and hydrogen, the Green Tech Skillnet supports the optimisation of renewables on the Irish grid and has successfully engaged over 3,000 trainees in the sector since 2021,” said Paul Healy, Skillnet Ireland CEO.
“On foot of this report, we look forward to continuing our collaborations with Green Tech Skillnet and making sure that Ireland has a future-ready workforce to further build our competitive edge in this sector,” he added.
The report, which will be launched at the Wind Energy Ireland annual conference, has been welcomed by Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris.