The Accelerate Green Conference – Ireland’s Sustainable Future 2023 saw hundreds of visionary leaders, industry experts, and change makers assemble in the Midlands for an event focused on driving sustainable solutions for a better tomorrow.
The conference featured thought-provoking talks, engaging discussions and innovative ideas that will shape the future of our planet.
Chairman of Bord na Mona, Geoff Meagher, opened the event and highlighted their Accelerate Green programme which is headquartered at Lough Boora in Offaly. The start-up accelerator programme is run in conjunction with Resolve Partners, and has to date seen 25 companies complete the in-depth mentoring programme.
Minister of State for Trade Promotion, Digital and Company Regulation, Dara Calleary, gave a keynote speech, highlighting that while there are challenges for business in reaching sustainability goals, there are also significant opportunities. The transition to net-zero is a global challenge, there is every reason for Ireland to become a leader rather than a follower in the transition. Government are taking the lead, and will continue to invest in supports, training and future skills, from the local enterprise offices, through to Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland, SOLAS and the Education and Training Boards.
Accelerate Green 2023
Beautiful Lough Boora is the home to the Accelerate Green programme, run by Bord na Mona with Resolve Partners. The programme welcomed 8 participant companies in the area of sustainability for the 2023 programme, and Bord na Mona have announced a €5m investment in the programme for the coming years. The programme is a flagship in the green transition for SME’s, designed to help sustainable businesses scale up and succeed, with a specific focus on the impact of the businesses in terms of sustainability.
– HaPPE Earth – aimed at replacing single-use products in healthcare settings.
– NEG8 Carbon – carbon capture technologies for high energy industries
– Hibra Design – reengineering vehicles from diesel to EV, specialising in energy and mining companies
– HUB360 – logistics optimisation, leading to greenhouse gas emission reductions
– Nanobox – better oxygenation of water for energy and efficiency in waste and aquaculture
– Superfy – sustainable smart resource management solutions and ERP for electronic recycling
– EC Charging – supply of electric vehicle charging infrastructure for municipal/industry locations
– CW Applied – electronic product design and manufacturing, building a venture studio for sustainable design
The Accelerate Green programme brings together these high potential businesses in the heart of the Midlands for the 8-module programme, the first climate-focused scaling accelerator in Ireland.
From Brown to Green
Bord na Móna is now entirely focused on renewable energy generation, recycling, peatlands restoration, biodiversity and the development of new, low-carbon enterprises. The company is on a €2.7bn investment programme into energy and decarbonisation, with the majority being put into renewable power generation. In 20 years, Ireland has come a long way, but the major target for 2050 requires even further progress and speed to meet the target of zero carbon emissions. Location is a significant asset for Ireland in the change to renewables, geography has given our island a unique advantage, and the future will be both onshore and offshore. The 80,000 hectares of land which Bord na Mona own provide abundant space for renewable energy generation, while the shallow waters of the South East coast, combined with the more challenging but huge potential of the West coast are where the future potential is for Ireland in wind energy.
The generation of renewable energy is only part of the solution, how this energy is delivered is also key. Firm back-up is also key to supporting renewable power, as renewables are reliant on wind or sun. The solution to this ‘final 10%’ may take many forms, with Hydrogen one such solution. The Mount Lucas Wind Farm will see the development of a Hydrogen plant, designed to use the energy generated on the wind farm, and process this into Hydrogen Gas. This Bord na Mona test facility will look at the viability of Hydrogen as a solution to Ireland’s power back-up needs, and to further enhance the value of our renewable power generation capabilities.
Climate Action in the Midlands Region
Under the Midlands Regional Enterprise Plan to 2024, Climate Action and the transition to a climate neutral economy is a key strategic objective. Under the National and European Just Transit Funds, the region is working together toward a transition away from peat by supporting impacted communities, and developing transformative projects to guide emerging low-carbon focused projects across the region.
The regions Local Authorities are working with regional and national partners to develop frameworks to realise the economic opportunities from the low-carbon transition and empowering communities to embrace social enterprise and community gain. The region is also working to develop and implement
Climate Action Plans, addressing both adaptation and mitigation measures, including the development and designation of decarbonisation zones, building upon lessons learned from the various elements in Portlaoise, as the national low-carbon demonstration town, including The Cube, our regional low carbon centre of excellence.
The regions Education and Training Boards (ETBs) are developing Green Skills programmes, along with a the Mount Lucas demonstration site for modern methods of construction, with the aim to also develop a National Pilot on Sustainability and a Rural Centre of Excellence within the Midlands Region.