Mr Hendry was the keynote speaker at the National Offshore Wind Association of Ireland Annual Conference in Dublin this week.

While the minister was full of praise for Ireland’s progress in developing a renewable energy infrastructure, he also sounded a note of caution that the country has to be prepared for future energy concerns.

He said: “I’d like to start by recognising Ireland’s strong recent growth in renewables, and particularly your expertise in harnessing your abundant wind energy resources.

“But, let me take a step back and set out the energy challenge that Ireland, the UK, and indeed much of the global community faces.

“Coming up with an energy policy that delivers safe, secure, low-carbon and affordable energy to 2020 and beyond will not be easy.

“Like Ireland, we face these challenges in a period of fiscal austerity, but there are real benefits to be had in delivering on this agenda.

“In the past seven months or so, a potential £1.7billion has been invested across the UK, with up to 9,500 jobs announced.

“And of course, renewables have another key advantage in securing our energy supplies and reducing our growing dependency on imported fossil fuels.”

Luke Walsh

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