Taking a lead in the “third industrial revolution” of green technology could create 18,000 jobs, according to Dr Eddie O’Connor, chief executive of Mainstream Renewable Power.

Speaking to delegates at the annual dinner of the Irish Venture Capital Association, in Dublin, he said Ireland should heed the European Commission’s claim that green technology could be the spark behind a new major boom.

He pointed out: “If Ireland was to install 6000 megawatts (MW) of wind energy on land and sea, some Euro 15bn to Euro 20bn would be spent.

“This would go a long way to making us energy independent and it would also create some 18,000 jobs.

“We would forego the emission of 10.8m tonnes of carbon dioxide, thereby avoiding fines of Euro 324m per annum.

“We would forego importing 6m tonnes of coal equivalent every year at a cost of Euro 671m. We would substitute a fuel that is free for a polluting fuel that is expensive and running out.”

Environment minister and leader of the Green Party John Gormley announced the country’s carbon budget last week.

The budget was welcomed by Friends of the Earth, which claimed changes to VRT and Motor Tax were progressive.

However, the environmental campaigners called for more concrete measures such as taking the amount of emissions the Kyoto protocol permits the country and then creating policies to keep pollution within those levels.

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