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Green economy and renewable energy

Northern Ireland is recognised for its long established expertise in engineering, technology and construction and is utilising the established skills base to diversify into the low carbon and renewable energy sector.

Our highly skilled companies and academic base offer a holistic approach to the sector for the research, design, and manufacture of products, provision of services and increasingly the integration of digital technologies to provide intelligent energy solutions. Northern Ireland companies provide a range of innovative products and services to address the specific needs of the various energy, water and transport supply chains.   

We are also emerging as a region of excellence with a range of innovative design, manufacturing, installation, operation and maintenance companies within several sub-sectors including wind, anaerobic digestion, biomass, energy from waste low carbon construction. Northern Ireland businesses have developed expertise in the production of green hydrogen from curtailed wind power, the manufacture of hydrogen buses and the development of intelligent systems for energy storage.

We have strong industry and academic expertise in data analytics and cyber security with companies developing a strong capability applicable for the low carbon energy sector.  Enhanced use of sensors, data analytics, cloud computing and other applications will play a significant part in the rollout of the green economy with Northern Ireland offering capabilities in these areas.

Find out more information about our companies' capabilities on our energy and water supply chain company directory.

  • The low carbon sector employs more than 12,000 people in over 300 companies and has an annual turnover in excess of £1.7 bn.

  • We are a leader in the connection of distributed renewable energy to the grid with almost 49.2% of all energy used in the region coming from a renewable energy source.

  • The ICT sector in Northern Ireland had a turnover of £2.5bn in 2019, a GVA of £1.6bn, and 23,000 employee jobs.

  • The waste sector in Northern Ireland had a turnover of £1.1bn in 2019, a GVA of £0.8bn, and 7,000 employee jobs.

Areas of expertise

Low carbon energy (including onshore/offshore wind)

Area of sector expertise

  • Provision of non-tidal ports and associated logistics
  • Harbour construction
  • Site and offshore surveys
  • Fabrication and engineering supply chain
  • Asset management
  • Cable protection systems
  • Northern Ireland’s assets mean it is a perfect test bed and development market for net zero technologies. The region’s electricity grid uses 70% wind to provide green power for H2 production and storage.   
  • The region has a relatively new ‘hydrogen injection/greening ready’ gas network with strategic storage/injection at Larne Lough salt caverns. 
  • Northern Ireland is home to a  range of renewable energy providers covering areas such as battery storage, electric heating, CHP, biogas, PV, wind, smart energy systems, energy consultancy and trading. 
  • A comprehensive supply chain exists covering manufacturing, fabrication, site mobilisation, construction, cabling, environmental consultancy, vessels, laydown, tourism/hospitality, training and legal.

Energy efficiency

Area of sector expertise

  • Low carbon construction, materials and integrated building technologies
  • Building energy management
  • Alternative heat solutions
  • Energy services
  • Home to suppliers of energy efficient lighting, HVAC, building management systems, IoT energy monitoring, energy surveys, predictive maintenance, power harmonics, process automation and control, service and maintenance

Energy storage and intelligent energy systems

Area of sector expertise

  • Battery storage
  • Intelligent control systems

Production and distribution of battery energy storage systems for domestic, commercial and industrial applications.

Water and waste water

Area of sector expertise

  • Design, construction and maintenance services
  • Northern Ireland offers access to a skilled workforce, strong construction and engineering supply chains that provide expertise in technical solutions, design and development of intelligent systems for the water and waste water industry.
  • Services include power supplies, control panel manufacture and asset monitoring & management. 

Low carbon transport

Area of sector expertise

  • Manufacture of low and zero carbon buses and boats
  • Provision of alternative fuels in green hydrogen, bio-methane and electric vehicles
  • Simulation and development of zero emission maritime vessels using foiling and low carbon technology.
  • ​​​​IoT solutions to monitor cycle usage, road conditions, accident hotspots to actively promote greater use of cycling as a form of transport.
  • The region has a comprehensive supply chain with battery companies, EV charging point installations, IT solutions providers.
  • Electric and hydrogen vehicle manufacturing for both public and private sector transport companies. 

Data centres

Area of sector expertise

  • Gas and diesel generators
  • Battery power
  • Control panels
  • Cable installations
  • HVAC
  • Fire protection systems
  • Northern Ireland has a strong engineering supply chain and capability for the design, construction and maintenance of data centres with companies from the region actively involved in projects globally. 
  • The region’s compact size makes it an ideal test bed for new communications technology.
  • The MJM Group Ballykelly data centre site can also offer a direct cable power purchase agreement to provide up to 60MW of low carbon electricity that includes solar, wind and the potential for hydrogen generated electricity.
  • Northern Ireland has various sites available suitable for the build of data centres.

Waste and resources

Area of sector expertise

  • Recycle waste solutions
  • One million tonnes of waste are collected in Northern Ireland annually, of which 46.7% is recycled, 25% is landfilled and 25.5% goes to energy recovery.
  • Waste management, recycling and manufacture of crushing and screening equipment.
  • Installation of carbon capture and storage technologies/energy from waste plant (eg. anaerobic digestion).

World-class research centres of excellence

The growth of the green economy and the net-zero carbon goal are heavily reliant upon research, development and innovation.  R&D in Northern Ireland is reliant upon research centres such as those listed below, to develop efficient and clean technology.

These include:

Industry/academic clusters/collaborative projects

There is also a number of industry and academic cluster and collaborative projects that are developing strong expertise and market opportunities.

These include:

Northern Ireland for foreign direct investment

Northern Ireland is an attractive place for investment in the renewables and energy sector thanks to a combination of factors including skills availability, excellent infrastructure, cost-effectiveness and a supportive business environment. To find out more, visit our Invest in Northern Ireland section.

Get in touch

Connect with a member of our green economy and renewable energy team via LinkedIn.

Please get in touch.  You can find a team in your region or fill in an enquiry form and a member of the team will contact you directly.

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