The National Maritime College of Ireland (NMCI) will host a hybrid conference/webinar on Friday 4 March 2022 entitled ‘Our Offshore Renewable Energy Opportunity – Is Ireland Ready?’. The conference, sponsored by Simply Blue Group, will bring together representatives from across Ireland’s maritime and supply chain workforce to explore their preparedness to the Offshore renewables’ opportunity.
The conference will seek specifically to put the spotlight on the qualifications and certifications for the fishing industry to ensure it is fit for the dual purpose of keeping fishermen fishing, while simultaneously ensuring that our coastal communities mariners and infrastructure are best placed to contribute to and benefit from this developing maritime industry.
Minister for Agriculture and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, will open the event, which will be Chaired by Fergal Keane from RTE Radio 1 programme ‘Seascapes’. Speakers include Noel Cunniffe, CEO of Wind Energy Ireland, Dr Alan Power, Assistant Principal, Labour Market and Skills Unit, Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, as well as Dr Val Cummins, Simply Blue Group, Damien Turner (IS&WFPO), Wind Europe, and a representative from BIM will participate.
Among the topics for discussion are the Policy Regime for Renewable Energy; the Expert Group on Future Workforce Skills Report on the Low Carbon Economy; A Developer Case Study – Floating Offshore Wind off Ireland’s Coasts; Co-existence of Offshore Renewable Energy with the Fishing Industry; and the Future opportunities for Ireland’s Fishing Industry.
Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Michael McGrath TD said: “The Government is committed to Ireland achieving its ambitious 2030 targets of generating 5GW of offshore wind and 80% renewables as a critical element of our national strategy to address climate change. The enactment of the Maritime Area Planning Bill will be central to this strategy. Of equal importance will be ensuring we have the requisite skills in the maritime and supply chain workforce to realise the full potential of this exciting opportunity for our coastal communities. This conference, bringing together a wide range of stakeholders will be an excellent showcase for the potential of this rapidly evolving sector.”
Speaking about the event, Captain Brian Fitzgerald, Director of External Affairs and Stakeholder Liaison, Simply Blue Group said “As Ireland struggles to meet the challenges of climate change, and fishing communities struggle with an unknown future, offshore renewable energy developments will have a far greater chance of delivering a sustainable future for all, including the incentivization of our youth to get involved, if the solutions are co-created. Ireland needs its best team on the field.”
Cormac Gebruers, Head of College, NMCI, said “We look forward to hosting this significant discussion for the maritime community. We hope the event will awaken Ireland’s mariners to an exciting and co-existing future that sees a thriving and growing fishing industry working in harmony with Ireland meeting its climate action targets.”
Mark O’Reilly, MD Fishery Liaisons said “The stakeholders most affected by Ireland’s development of its ocean wealth are those in our fishing industry and associated coastal communities. It is well known that they face increasing challenges and fears for the future. In the areas suitable for offshore wind development, nobody knows the sea and the seabed better than the fishers that work there. The sensible approach is for the industry and developers to work together to harness the possibilities from offshore wind.”