Renewable Energy in AssociAtion with helvetiA weAlth PurSuinG Greener inveSTMenTS \ Brent McLean, Director Alternative Investments, Helvetia Wealth As investors Around the world hope the globAl economy recovers from the sub-prime debAcle, irish investor’s Are thinking green for their investment opportunities, writes BREnt McLEan T he Irish government has been keen to expand Ireland’s capacity to be more self-sufficient in meeting its own energy needs and reducing the country’s dependence on foreign fossil fuels. Renewable Energy is a form of energy that occurs naturally and continuously in the environment and enables countries to harness their own energy without using fossil fuels. In 2006, former Marine and Natural Resource minister, Noel Dempsey, announced efforts to triple renewable energy in Ireland by 2010. Last year, Eamon Ryan, the newly elected Energy Minister, followed up on Dempsey’s initiative and has been promoting Ireland to become a world leader in renewable energy in a pursuit to have Ireland generate nearly 40% of its own energy from renewable sources by 2020. What are the benefits of Ireland utilizing renewable energy solutions and going green? Firstly, establishing a renewable energy platform reduces the amount of air pollution and allows Ireland to meet its carbon emission obligations set out in the Kyoto agreement. Secondly, a self-sufficient energy infrastructure created from Ireland’s own internal investment provides long-term employment and energy independence. Ireland is not alone in the pursuit of renewable energy. By 2010 the state of California, in the United States, aims to generate 20% of its power from renewable sources. The target in the European Union is to obtain 18% of its power from renewables by 2010. Renewable energy can be derived from a number of sources, most notably wind, marine, hydro and solar energy. The methods of using natural resources to generate energy seems a basic task, but creating an efficient system requires more advanced technology and there are high costs to implement. Wind Offshore and onshore wind farms harvest the power of the wind as it blows past moving rotor blades. The movement of the rotor blades creates torque on a rotor that generates energy. The windmills transfer the energy via cables to electrical grids to local power companies or businesses. The power companies then 44 www.irishentrepreneur.com distribute power to local communities, other power companies or retain in storage for future use. Recently, Ireland’s own Airtricity has been bought for an estimated €1.5bn by Scottish and Southern Energy Plc (SSE). With the purchase, SSE becomes the largest wind farm operator in Ireland and the United Kingdom. Marine Marine buoys enable energy to be harnessed as rising and falling waves move across the oceans surface, strategically placed buoys rise and fall with the waves. The buoys create torque through a pumping action generating energy. The amount of energy created is based on wind speed, length of time the wind blows over the waves, as well as the distance between the crest and the bottom of the wave. Ireland’s west coast is a prime location to capture wave power and generate energy. A second maritime energy source is through marine turbines from tidal and ocean currents. The marine turbines come in different formats but basically use a rotor blade system to turn in tidal streams (similar to wind turbines moved by air) Hydro PoWer An older version of maritime energy source, hydro power comes from stored water supplies collected in reservoirs and then released to a lower level turbine which generates electricity. Water passing through the turbines moves the rotor blades of the turbines creating electricity. Another version of hydro power is run-of-theriver where river water flows naturally through turbines creating electricity. These types of energy generating resources have been nearly fully utilized in Ireland. Solar Solar energy may be harnessed in a few different ways. The sun can be harnessed provide heating, cooling and ventilation solutions or converted into electricity via a photoelectric effect. Historically the power of the sun has been used to heat homes, water and for cooking. Basic ideas such as homes facing the direction of the sun to capture the sunlight and warmth, have been enhanced by energy efficient windows to allow the sun to warm the home or deflect the suns rays to keep the home cool. Today, solar cells called photovoltaic cells are created using silicon to absorb the sun’s rays and convert the rays into electricity for immediate use or stored in rechargeable batteries. ie Author: Brent McLean, Director, Alternative Investments, Helvetia Wealth Dublin Office T: +353 (0) 1 4830883 Swiss Office T: +41 445672230 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: www.helvetia-wealth.ch THe inveSTor: reneWable enerGy Currently renewable energy provides only 13% of the world’s energy needs. Globally, no fewer than 49 governments have established targets to promote greater use of renewable energy sources. The future demand and growth of renewable energy technology and implementation to capture and utilize this energy provides opportunities for investors. inveSTMenT oPTionS So where can investors look if they are interested to invest in renewable energy? There are a number of individual companies for direct investment in new technology and construction of platforms to capture wind, marine, hydro and solar energy. The design and implementation of specific energy platforms are supported by companies that build the components to generate and capture the renewable electricity created and transfer them to grids to then be used by power companies, local businesses and communities. diverSify Investors understand the necessity to diversify and there are a number of renewable energy funds investing in different renewable energy sectors, as well as, research/development and manufacturers of the technology for renewable energy projects.