The new hub aims to create a ‘centre of excellence’ for the region, by supporting the commercial sector and homes that want access to renewable energy options.

A new Renewable Energy Hub has been launched in Offaly, in order to create a cluster of local and international companies developing new technologies for the sector.

The hub has been established in the Birr Technology Centre and aims to create a “centre of excellence” for Ireland’s midlands. It is hoped that companies located at the hub will provide a range of services for both the commercial sector and for homes that want renewable energy options.

The hub is located in the Birr centre’s enterprise building, which is also receiving a deep energy retrofit and renewable energy upgrades. The hub was officially opened by Minister of State Pippa Hackett.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Hackett said the Renewable Energy Hub has the potential to be “a beacon in Ireland for cutting-edge renewable energy projects”.

“To my mind, there is no better place to have that beacon than in Offaly, a county at the heart of the midlands, leading the way forward in the brown to green transition,” Hackett said.

Multiple renewable energy companies attended the launch to showcase their technology offerings, such as Renewables Ireland, JFW Renewables, SolarSol and PSF Insulations.

Denis Madden, the owner of the Birr Technology Centre and CEO of European Tech Hubs, said the hub has opened after a wave of energy price shocks last year and “the necessity to greatly reduce our use of fossil fuels”.

“The midlands in particular are affected by the transition to cleaner and greener sources of energy,” Madden said. “We are promoting the establishment here of firms with local, national and international ambitions.

“We are similarly interested in attracting and providing a supportive environment for overseas renewable energy technology companies to develop their technology here, and address the Irish and European market from here. The market is expanding very rapidly and a local presence and commitment will support their expansion.”

Last year, Ireland approved the use of EU funding to help the midlands move away from fossil fuels. Under this plan, €169m will be used over a 10-year period to create new green jobs, restore damaged peatlands and alleviate economic impacts that come from a transition to climate neutrality.
Leigh Mc Gowran

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