Irish cleantech start-ups attract the attention of international investors
Over 100 cleantech innovators attended an investment conference in Dublin last week to hear about the opportunities in the sector
Highlighting opportunities for Irish cleantech companies at an event connecting entrepreneurs and venture capitalists in Dublin recently were (from left) Wayne Byrne of Oxymem, Richard Youngman of CleanTech Group and Aideen O’Hora of The Green Way
As attention turns to energy efficiency and cleaner, renewable sources of energy, Ireland’s budding green energy sector could be poised for a surge in activity.
For Irish consumers, water metering is about to make its appearance in the domestic market, smart metering is on the cards for energy customers in the coming five years, and the high cost of fossil fuels is forcing fuel prices higher.
It was against this background that more than 100 clean technology innovators attended an investment conference held in Dublin last week to hear about the opportunities open to firms willing to operate in the sector.
The Cleantech Investment Conference, which was organised by The Green Way and Cleantech Group and sponsored by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland, was intended to highlight the potential for both companies and Ireland as a whole, bringing together everyone from start-ups and SMEs to tech investors.
Cleantech covers everything from sustainable development and eco-innovation to resource efficiency. It’s a business that could be worth around $5 trillion worldwide, the Green Way’s executive director Aideen O’Hora said.
And the good news for Ireland is that we have the potential to become a leader in the green and clean tech industry, according to The Green Way.
“The Irish cleantech sector has shown strong potential in recent years and we see good opportunities for investment in early stage firms which are really innovating in terms of their proposed solutions to societal challenges,” Ms O’Hora said.
As smart metering and water charges become a reality for consumers, it also provides an opportunity to stimulate and grow the Irish cleantech sector locally, allowing the companies to bring those skills to other markets and grow their businesses globally.
Cleantech’s managing director of Europe and Asia Richard Youngman said the company had a keen interest in the Irish sector.
“Our 2012 global cleantech innovation index report ranked Ireland ninth overall in terms of its cleantech innovation potential,” he said. “We want to understand what is happening in the Irish market and to focus on the Irish corporates, emerging and new Irish companies and the convergence across cleantech and IT.”
Ireland has already begun building an industry here, with innovative moves in areas such as solar technology, wind power and tidal energy.
In recent weeks, it was announced that Dublin-based developer of solar equipment Nines Photovoltaics had won substantial investment to help bring its technology to market. It’s a technology that allows solar panels to be produced at a lower cost, and also increases the efficiency of the panels themselves.