Ireland needs ‘one-stop shop’ for climate tech to meet targets, report claims

Tech firms focused on climate change are ‘hotbed of activity’ but more investment urged

Ireland’s climate tech ecosystem “urgently” needs more investment, while the sector must develop a “one-stop shop” where entrepreneurs, regulators, investors and customers are all brought together if the State is to meet net-zero targets by 2050, according to a new report.

The report, published by PwC and SustainabilityWorks, defines climate tech as technologies that are explicitly focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions or addressing the impacts of climate change. It identifies 36 Irish companies as working in the sector.

The report points to Denmark’s “State of Green” initiative, which brings together 600 Danish businesses, agencies, academic institutions, experts and researchers, and connects them with leading Danish players working to drive the transition to a sustainable, low-carbon, resource-efficient society.

The initiative has helped Denmark more than halve its CO2 emissions, which, the report argues, “puts paid to the myth that economic growth requires a corresponding increase in energy use and associated emissions”.


‘Stronger signals’

“Ireland needs an equivalent of the initiative of the Danish government’s State of Green,” it says. “To bring the opportunity to the next level, this would create a one-stop-shop for the entire Irish climate tech ecosystem, allowing entrepreneurs, regulators and investors to come together while providing a showcase for customers.”

The report also calls for “stronger signals” to the market to act. “This includes both stronger Government signals through climate and carbon policies, incentives and green procurement as well as companies developing plans to act on their decarbonisation commitments,” it says.

Furthermore, the report adds: “The sector in Ireland needs unhindered capital flows of all types. This includes more public and private capital that is both long and short term in nature.”

David McGee, the leader of PwC Ireland’s ESG Practice and co-author of the report, said the sector needed “significant investment”.

“While Ireland’s climate tech ecosystem is a hotbed of activity with lots of innovation, there is potential to do more,” he said. “But this needs significant investment.

“As society continues to grapple with how to halve emissions by 2030, more investment is needed into the Irish climate tech sector – not just at the top level, but with better spread across sectors and solutions, across different start-up sizes and across different technological maturity levels.

“This includes nurturing development opportunities in offshore renewable energy and the decarbonisation of heat as well as transition technologies, such as carbon capture ready to scale up.”

SustainabilityWorks co-founder and co-author of the report Aideen O’Hora said: “If this sector is to survive and thrive, more focused policy, initiatives and funding are needed.

“The urgency of the climate crisis means that more must be done and at an accelerated pace so that Ireland’s climate tech sector can flourish and fully leverage its potential. The urgency of climate change means it is now or never. If Ireland truly wants to be part of the climate tech innovation wave, the time is now.”

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson is an Irish Times reporter