By Mike Hogan
Opinion: Brexit means Irish companies must diversify into global markets such as the UAE and seize the many opportunities, especially in the cleantech sector, writes Mike Hogan, Enterprise Ireland
With the growing demand for clean technologies or cleantech as it's more commonly known, Ireland is fast forging a path to become a major international hub for the sector through the innovative driven approaches by a growing number of Irish companies.
Welcoming the Irish cleantech companies who have flown to Dubai this week to participate at WETEX, I have been impressed by the level of expertise they bring with them and their optimism for the UAE as a major opportunity to do business.
The UAE is the second largest economy and destination for Irish merchandise exports in the region and home to some 10,000 Irish citizens who are working across a range of sectors.
Enterprise Ireland, the Irish Government agency that supports businesses to compete effectively on the international stage, is supporting over 120 Irish cleantech businesses to respond to the ever growing worldwide demand. Ten of these companies will be showcasing their globally recognised innovations and services at WETEX as part of an expanded Ireland pavilion, which is featuring more Irish companies than ever before.
Not only is this good news for Irish businesses, it is also good for the world, with Irish expertise, solutions and services meeting the global drive to innovatively and competitively manage climate change, grow sustainably, generate clean energy and manage scarce natural resources.
Demand for Irish cleantech is evident through the growing annual exports of solutions and services which is approaching $450 million, with significant growth in sectors such as renewable energy, smart grid, waste water management and energy efficiency.
As well as the sector experiencing significant financial growth, Irish companies are also receiving global recognition for their high degree of expertise and innovative solutions.
Dublin-based HUB Controls, which will be attending WETEX in Dubai [today] was the first international winner of the prestigious US-based clean tech competition 76West Clean Energy Competition. The company creates smart energy products for the home including a smart thermostat which means consumers can reduce their home energy bills at the same time as being energy efficient which is good for the world.
Another Irish success story, also present on the WETEX Ireland pavilion, is T.E. Laboratories (TelLab), who has just received confirmation that it is among a handful of global companies to reach the final rounds of the US EPA’s Advanced Septic System Nitrogen Sensor Challenge for its innovative water quality sensor – Aquamonitrix.
Joining these companies on the Ireland pavilion will be NuLumenTek Ltd and Kingspan both of which have a long established presence in the UAE, ESB International with a base in Bahrain and Green Biofuels Ireland Ltd, Suparule Systems Ltd, Automsoft who eye the region as a key market for their products and services and ResourceKraft who last year at WETEX announced its strategic partnership with Al Sharif Group announced last year at WETEX to deliver energy management solutions to the region.
With Brexit on the horizon, it’s more important than ever for Irish companies to diversify into global markets such as the UAE and seize the many opportunities especially in the cleantech sector. The demand in the UAE is partly driven by the UAE’s Energy Strategy 2050' which has tasked individuals and corporates to reduce their energy consumption by 40%. In achieving this aim, the strategy seeks to double the contribution of clean energy to 50% into the overall energy mix.
This year alone, the UAE approved $1.6 billion for water and energy projects which means there are significant business opportunities for the Irish cleantech sector to bring their innovations to benefit the country.
Ireland is already helping to shape a cleaner future for the region and around the world. From low-energy water purifiers to rainwater harvesting systems, Irish cleantech companies continue to make a global impact, delivering innovative solutions to some of the world’s foremost environment challenges.
Mike Hogan is Enterprise Ireland’s Regional Manager for the Middle East and North Africa. Ireland pavilion at WETEX is located at Hall 2, Stand N12.