Careers in the Smart Green Economy and the requirement for graduates who can integrate IT with sustainable energy

Minister Eamon Ryan has identified an important niche in the green sector that Ireland can be a world class leader in. The development of applications that can integrate with sustainable energy sources and devices is a rapidly growing area.

Environmental regulations and policies as well as the increased awareness of reducing green house gases and preserving natural resources have led to the rapid increase in the demand for technical solutions that will measure, control and reduce energy utilisation as well as measure and condition the indoor environment.
The National Development Plan 2007-2013 and the current Programme for Government have each identified Ireland’s future energy needs as a national priority. Additionally, the Strategy for Science, Technology and Innovation 2006-2013 listed energy as a research priority and proposed the establishment of a National Energy Council. Most recently, new Building Regulations for have been published, which includes a mandatory minimum renewable energy requirement. This is the first step to ensuring that the management, measurement and control of energy comes part of our every day lives.
The emphasis on energy in the Government White Paper and National Development Plan indicates a long-term demand for expertise in technology that integrates with sustainable energy systems. This mirrors an increase in career opportunity globally, where a cumulative investment of $20 trillion is estimated by the International Energy Agency as being required in the period 2005 – 2030.
The importance of integrated technologies and how they can assist in the reduction of energy consumption has been identified by the 2009 EUROSTAT report Data Collection Handbook on Environmental Goods and Services Sector (ENV/EXP/WG/07 2009).  This finding is backed by the report of the High Level Action Group on Green Enterprise. Chairperson of the Group, Mr. Joe Harford, stated “I see a need for Ireland to be able to respond quickly and flexibly to capture new opportunities. Implementation of this Report is essential in order to maximise the potential for Ireland in the green enterprise sector. We need to gain a significant foothold and a competitive advantage in the short term as competition for investment and ideas in this sector is growing across the globe“.
Not surprisingly, a proliferation of energy related industries has grown to meet the resulting market demand for efficient heating and electrical generation systems based on sustainable sources. However, if Ireland is really to progress on energy issues, it needs many more graduates trained specifically in development of applications to control and monitor energy usage and generation for industrial, commercial and domestic buildings.
There is a requirement for graduates who will focus on the design and implementation of new innovative systems which integrate technology with sustainable energy sources. Careers in this area include the following sectors:
  • Energy Management Systems
  • Electric car charging systems
  • Building Management Systems
  • Automated energy controls for Industrial buildings
  • Mobile communication solutions for energy systems 
Tipperary Institute has launched their new B.Sc (Honours) in Computing (Smart Sustainable Energy) degree, which focuses on developing and designing innovative sustainable energy technology that solves energy problems. The course is unique in Ireland and is built upon Tipperary Institute’s expertise in the sustainable energy sector. The course will commence in September 2010 and students can apply through the CAO. 
For more information visit the Tipperary Institute website http://www.tippinst.ie/

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