As part of the Government’s jobs action plan, the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) is set to support 22 Irish energy-efficiency projects spanning both the public and commercial sectors. Energy Minister Pat Rabbitte, TD, claims that these energy efficiency upgrades could potentially deliver up to €7m in annual energy savings and support over 500 jobs.
Collectively, the 22 projects will invest up to €55m in energy saving measures.
Many of these projects will also be eligible to avail of loan finance under the Government’s National Energy Efficiency Fund announced in February.
The projects span the health, education, manufacturing, services, food and public sectors.
New procurement strategies
They will ‘road test’ a new framework for procurement, which is designed to minimise upfront capital costs while also stimulating greater economic activity in pursuit of Ireland’s energy saving targets.
Rabbitte announced the first tranche of projects that will get SEAI funding and support in Dublin today.
The projects include three public lighting upgrades by Fingal, Kerry and Mayo County Councils. The three combined projects will involve a €30m investment to upgrade almost 50,000 public lights and support 200 jobs.
Other projects involve food sector companies such as Liffey Meats and Carton Bros (Manorpark Foods) where energy upgrades and subsequent savings will aim to improve competitiveness and sustain Irish manufacturing jobs.
The public and commercial sector projects will test different approaches to energy service contracting and financing, including full energy performance contracting (EPC).
This is payment for energy upgrades is linked to a specified energy performance improvement.
According to SEAI, the organisations and companies participating in the programme will outsource their projects to an energy services company to help them achieve greater energy savings as part of their projects.
Public and private investment
Speaking today Rabbitte said that a critical driver in the creation of jobs in a tight economy is a combination of state and private investment.
He said that, with the Government’s target to transform Ireland into one of Europe’s energy efficient economies by 2020 these projects are encouraging that the country is on the "right track."
SEAI’s chief executive Brian Motherway said that there has been keen interest from companies in this initiative.
"It reflects the growing awareness of energy efficiency as a business opportunity," he said.
"These organisations are leading the way because they know the economic and job gains are there for the taking," added Motherway.
Further information on Ireland’s roadmap for energy-efficiency projects is available on the SEAI website.
Lightbulb image via Shutterstock