Nine local companies are in the US this week to attend the world’s largest wind energy exhibition and conference.
They are taking part in an Invest NI trip to Windpower 2009, which runs until Thursday in Chicago. It is the first time companies from Northern Ireland have exhibited at the event, which has grown steadily since it was first run in 2001 by the American Wind Energy Association.
Around 15,000 leading industry professionals and decision makers from across the globe will come together to profile and learn about the latest developments and technologies in the sector.
Invest NI is supporting six local organisations to exhibit at the event alongside 10 other European companies, as part of a unique collaborative umbrella group Global Wind Alliance.
A further three local companies are attending the event with Invest NI assistance to explore possible new business opportunities and network with exhibiting companies.
Dr Vicky Kell, Invest NI’s trade director, said: “The global wind energy market is growing rapidly as governments seek to make use of this renewable source of power. In the US alone, the target is for 20% of electricity to be generated from wind by 2030.
“To achieve this will require the installation rate to more than double from the current level.
“This demand presents significant export opportunities for businesses that can deliver a wide range of products and services, from rotor blades to site decontamination, freight of equipment to turbine systems and ongoing post-warranty maintenance.
“Local businesses can improve their ability to penetrate this diverse market, which already features a number of major global players, by pooling their complementary abilities to offer complete solutions.”
Dr Kell said Invest NI had recognised the potential of the renewables sector and has allocated substantial resources to assist businesses boost their capability in sustainable business sectors.
She said: “A renewables strategy is under development which will deliver practical support to companies targeting the sector.
“In addition to trade focused support, there is a range of R&D-focused financial and advisory help for developing innovative technological solutions.
“These measures are helping local businesses steer a path through the current economic difficulties and be well placed to exploit new opportunities as they emerge.”