Unique Green ‘Co-Op’ Aims To Create A Further 20 New Jobs
26/04/12 at 11:56 PM
From left: Liam Deasy and David McCarthy, West Cork Renewable Energy Centre, which officially opens to the public on the May Bank Holiday Weekend at The Curragh, Clonakilty. Picture: Neil Danton
West Cork green energy businesses have joined forces to form a co-operative renewable energy movement, the first of its kind in Munster, that already comprises 15 entrepreneurs and three managers, and will create a further 20 new jobs over the next two years.
The West Cork Renewable Energy Centre, which officially opens to the public this May Bank Holiday weekend, is based at The Curragh, Clonakilty, and is the long-cherished brainchild of local businessman Liam Deasy and his brother TJ.
Centre manager Mr Deasy is the owner of Regeneration Solar, which develops thermodynamic solar panels that have an edge on regular panels due to their capacity to produce hot water at nighttime and on cloudy days.
Tapping into the appetite for saving costs on energy, particularly with domestic water charges on the horizon, Mr Deasy identified a niche for diverse small businesses to establish a one-stop renewable energy shop, and collectively share the burden of marketing the individual SMEs.
As a concept, the West Cork Renewable Energy Centre is a family affair, with Mr Deasy and his brother TJ as co-managers, while their 3,600 square feet premises is being redeveloped by their father John. Complementing the Deasys as frontman for the operation is its director, David Murphy, who has over a decade’s experience in construction, pharmaceutical and other industries, and who came into contact with Mr Deasy when he opted to study Regeneration Solar for his studies in sustainable energy at CIT.
Mr Murphy is enthusiastic about progress to date, with the first phase of 15 units occupied by firms offering a diverse range of services, from heat recovery ventilation systems to energy efficient timber frame homes, water harvesting, to domestic wind turbines, and solar panels to security systems.
“Our priority is to establish ourselves as problem solvers in energy. Energy-efficient homes and businesses can save up to 80% on bills, and there is a target to raise the level of renewables in Irish energy consumption, north and south, to 40% by 2020. It’s growing all the time, with 16% of electricity in Ireland created from renewable sources, compared with 5% in 2005,” he said.
The centre’s managers plan to offer training courses and information events about the importance of renewable energy, and to employ specialists to advise householders on how the products and services of the firms at the centre can be matched to their needs.
“Between surveyors and fitters, as well as marketing personnel, we aim to create a further 20 jobs over the next two years,” Mr Murphy said.
With more than €100,000 raised for the development of the centre this year, the centre has had no financial support, but gladly acknowledges the “superb” support and advice that has come from West Cork Enterprise Board and the West Cork Technological Park, also based in Clonakilty.
The managers aim to create a further 10 units for new companies in the next phase of development, but the priority now is establishing the cooperative as a brand, against a backdrop of increased interest in and demand for alternative energy solutions by householders concerned about domestic water rates and rising electricity costs.
“We will be the first and only renewable energy centre in Munster, giving us the perfect platform to promote each other’s businesses and educate the public of the power of renewable energy and future sustainability for generations to come,” Mr Murphy said.
The West Cork Renewable Energy Centre officially opens on Saturday May 5th with a family fun day, taking place at the centre from 1pm.