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The Innovation and Technology Transfer Centre

An Lárionad Nuála agus Aistrithe Teicneolaíochta

Ireland has the Potential to Achieve Energy Independence Using Renewable Energy Resources

Ireland has more than 3 times its total energy requirements available from readily accessible renewable energy sources on its own doorstep. Yet despite access to such vast and plentiful clean energy resources, Ireland is still heavily dependent on volatile foreign fossil fuel, importing almost 90% of its energy needs.

As conventional energy sources run out Ireland has therefore an extraordinary opportunity to use its own natural resources, in a cost competitive way, to achieve energy independence and become a world leader in the use of clean energy. That was the key message delivered earlier today at NovaUCD by John Travers, author and CEO of Alternative Energy Resources, at the launch of his new book entitled Green & Gold – Ireland a Clean Energy World Leader?.

John Travers, CEO, Alternative Energy Resources and author of Green & Gold - Ireland a Clean Energy World Leader?

Conclusions outlined in the book include that 20% of total Irish energy needs can be met by renewable energy within the next ten years and 80% by 2050 and that 20% of Irish GDP can be derived from clean energy exports.

In this new book, published by The Collins Press, John Travers discusses the role energy plays in the Irish economy and lifestyle, the country’s consequent thirst for imported oil and how an energy crisis that could ravage the nation may be avoided.


He then assesses in clear terms, practical energy alternatives using renewable sources such as wind, solar, wave and biomass, which would allow Ireland to meet all of its energy needs and achieve energy independence. This would provide an opportunity for Ireland to become a global beacon in the use of clean energy.

Launching his new book, John Travers, said, “Clean energy can help rescue Ireland from its current economic and energy challenges. In achieving energy independence, Ireland can become an outstanding world leader and a global beacon for the use of clean energy. Ireland is endowed with winds that are among the strongest in the world and the waves that crash against our western seaboard are some of the most powerful on the planet. Harnessing these and other clean energy sources such as solar and biomass offers Ireland a golden opportunity to overcome the energy challenge it faces.”  He added, “There is the potential to create almost 100,000 jobs from harnessing renewable energy and applying energy efficiency activities.”

John Travers is an international energy expert. He is an engineering graduate of University College Dublin and a MBA graduate of Harvard University. He has previously worked for Shell International and McKinsey & Company. He is currently CEO of Alternative Energy Resources, a leading Irish alternative energy company headquartered in NovaUCD, the Innovation and Technology Transfer Centre at UCD. He is also the author of Driving the Tiger, Irish Enterprise Spirit.


12 August 2010

For further information contact Micéal Whelan, NovaUCD, e:, t: + 353 1 716 3712 or John Travers, AER, e:

Editor’s Notes

Green & Gold – Ireland a Clean Energy World Leader? has been published in paperback by The Collins Press and is priced at €14.99.

Additional points of interest include:

  • The cost to achieve the first practical step of a 20% renewable energy contribution and implement basic energy efficiency measures in Ireland is estimated to be €15 billion invested over 10 years.

  • The primary return on this investment would be achieved from national and export sales of renewable energy. Additional annual returns in the order of €1.2 billion (e.g. from reduction in cost of importing oil, reduction in costs associated with carbon dioxide emissions, trading of carbon credits, energy efficiencies and additional tax receipts) would also be achieved.

  • The wealth of Ireland’s accessible renewable energy is similar in scale to production from the massive nation-shaping oil and gas fields of the North Sea or the Middle East, but instead of polluting and dwindling, it is clean and perpetual.

  • Accessible renewable energy is a small subset of the full renewable resource, which can be easily captured, without a wind turbine blitz, without competing with food and without prohibitive costs.

  • Ireland is endowed with some of the most powerful wind and waves on the planet, some of the highest yields of next-generation sustainable biomass in the world and plentiful solar energy.

John Travers is an international energy expert. A chartered engineer and graduate of University College Dublin, he began his career at Shell International. He worked on oil and gas fields in the North of the Netherlands and subsequently led work on commercialising novel technology in The Hague.  

He left Shell to complete an MBA at Harvard University and to write his first book, Driving the Tiger, Irish Enterprise Spirit. He subsequently joined McKinsey & Company, management consultants, to lead projects as diverse as energy, not-for-profit healthcare and satellite design in Europe, USA and Africa.  

He is the founding CEO of Alternative Energy Resources Ltd (AER) and has successfully grown the company since 2006. AER has a world class performance record in three key areas; production and supply of biofuels in the Irish market, large scale biofuels production projects and next generation biofuels research and development. AER is headquartered in NovaUCD, the Innovation and Technology Transfer Centre at UCD.

NovaUCD is University College Dublin’s Innovation and Technology Transfer Centre.  NovaUCD is responsible for the commercialisation of intellectual property arising from UCD research and for the development of co-operation with industry and business. NovaUCD as a purpose-built centre also nurtures new technology and knowledge-intensive enterprises such as AER. NovaUCD has been funded through a unique public-private partnership that includes AIB Bank, Arthur Cox, Deloitte, Enterprise Ireland, Ericsson, Goodbody Stockbrokers, UCD and Xilinx.