The Irish Government has today approved a proposal from Energy Minister Pat Rabbitte, TD, to set up an energy efficiency fund worth €70m to provide project lending for energy efficiency contracts in the public and commercial sectors.
Rabbitte said the new fund would be distinct from the grants-based programme for the retrofitting of private homes.
The Government has authorised €35m in seed capital for the energy efficiency fund, while Rabbitte said the aim would be to leverage the remaining €35m from the private sector.
"We estimate that about €250m in savings can be made in energy bills in the public sector alone," he said.
For every €10m that’s spent as part of the new fund, Rabbitte believes that around 675 direct and indirect jobs can be created.
The fund will finance two main types of projects in the public and commercial sector. Firstly, this will include energy performance contracts, where funding is drawn down by an energy services company that designs and implements energy savings for clients. Secondly, the fund will provide direct lending to client companies.
Rabbitte said he will also be bringing proposals to the Cabinet later this year for the residential sector to move from the retrofit scheme, which pays grants after home retrofits have been carried out, to a new financing model called pay-as-you-save (PAYS).
He said that, under the PAYS scheme, people who retrofit their homes would be able to finance their home improvements from ongoing savings on their energy bills.