The Renewable Energy Hub has been opened at the Birr Technology Centre to create a centre of excellence for firms, both local and international, developing and supplying renewable energy technologies. Firms based at the hub will provide a range of services to the commercial sector and households seeking renewable energy solutions.
Pippa Hackett, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, this week officially opened the Renewable Energy Hub at the Birr Technology Centre. The new hub has been founded by the management of Birr Technology Centre to create a cluster of local and international renewable energy companies located at the Centre. The hub is in the Centre´s Enterprise Building which is receiving a deep energy retrofit and is being upgraded to renewable sources of energy.
Speaking at the event, Minister of State, Pippa Hackett said : “I am delighted to have been invited to cut the ribbon at the official opening of the Renewable Energy Hub at Birr Technology Centre.”
“The Hub has the potential to become 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.” she said. “The Green Party in Government is committed to supporting new green jobs, sustainable transport and the development of green energy in those communities most affected by decarbonisation, and the establishment of the Renewable Energy Hub in Birr serves to bolster that commitment.” she added.
A Hub for green energy enterprise
Denis Madden, CEO of European Tech Hubs and owner of Birr Technology Centre said: “We are pleased to welcome Minister of State Hackett to open the Renewable Energy hub today. We do this against the backdrop of massive 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. It is appropriate therefore that we open this Hub in Birr, Co. Offaly in the heart of the Midlands. 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. ”
“This building was built by Shannon Development in the eighties for small business and start-ups, after over forty years it was time to upgrade the building to modern standards and use renewable energy sources. We will showcase current technologies and pilot new technologies here. Historically the property operated as a water powered flour mill and later sawmill. The old mill was rebuilt in 2003 as a state-of-the-art Technology Building. Our objective ultimately is to run a zero-carbon innovation park here.”
Renewable energy companies attending the launch and presenting their technology included leading solar energy suppliers. Companies represented included Renewables Ireland Ltd., JFW Renewables Ltd, SolarSol Ltd and Birr building insulation company PSF Insulations. “These are very busy and exciting times for companies active with renewable energy solutions,” said Luan Briscoe, Sales Director of Renewables Ireland. “We are witnessing strong demand for solar PV systems across the country, and this is set to grow much further with strong commercial incentives to embrace renewables. We specialise in the design, supply and install of PV Solar, battery storage, EV charging, and other energy efficient solutions. The pay-back period for investment in solar has shortened considerably. We are pleased to co-operate with the Renewable Energy Hub to bring our experience into the Midlands region.”
Midlands at the centre of the renewable tranisition
Offaly Local Development Company offices are located beside the new Renewable Energy Hub and their CEO, Brendan O´Loughlin remarked at the launch that Birr was at the centre now of very considerable wind and solar investments. “Offaly is very quickly becoming the most significant region for renewable energy generation. With its central location it offers great access for companies choosing to locate here.”
Denis Madden spoke of the connections that are being established with international firms and the opportunities of Green Hydrogen and the initiatives to export offshore green hydrogen to mainland Europe. He said “Birr has a long tradition in innovation in energy and sciences, the objective of the new hub will be to tap into these traditions. We will be recruiting staff and partnering with organisations over the coming months to establish the Hub as a showcase for renewable technologies.”
The launch of the Renewable Energy Hub in Birr further highlights the position of the Midlands region at the heart of Sustainability and the transition to a low carbon economy. The launch of the hub follows soon after the launch of The Cube – Low Carbon Centre of Excellence in Portlaoise, which was officially opened by Minister Simon Coveney earlier this year.