Public sector energises mid-west to meet 2020 EU targets

22 Jul 2013

Senior civil servants are working towards a sustainable energy strategy for Ireland’s mid-west region, to meet the EU’s 20-20-20 targets for energy.

Public-sector bodies that attended a special workshop at the Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT) campus in Thurles over the weekend included the HSE, Tipperary Energy Agency, Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), Midlands Energy Agency, Institute of Technology Tralee, Irish Prison Service and local authorities from all over Ireland. The event focusing on encouraging reductions in energy consumption and CO2 emissions and increased usage of renewable energy in public buildings was held as part of a three-year EU INTERREG IVC project which is being implemented locally by the Mid-West Regional Authority (MWRA).

The workshop highlighted the challenges faced by the public sector in implementing local and regional policies to meet the EU’s ‘20-20-20’ targets for energy.

The meeting  took into account numerous energy and climate change strategies so far developed at a local level.

2020 challenges

“The challenges include cutting CO2 emissions by 20pc, ensuring 20pc of energy consumption comes from renewable sources, and driving a 20pc reduction in energy use,” explained Liam Conneally, director of the MWRA.

“It is clear from the workshops that public-sector agencies are keen to work together to reach these targets and our role is to co-ordinate and strengthen this collaborative approach.”

 The MWRA is amongst nine partner agencies from six European countries involved in the STEP project, which runs until December 2014 and is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The other partners include STRIA, the South Transdanubian Regional Innovation Agency Non-for-profit Ltd (Hungary); Kainuun Etu Ltd (Finland); Saxon Energy Agency (Germany); the Energy Management Agency from Murcia (Spain); the Environmental Development Company from Aragon (Spain); Arleg S.S. Regional Development Agency (Poland); Midland Regional Authority (Ireland) and the Local Government of Mohács (Hungary).

“Resourcing an energy-management programme is a key challenge in the public sector,” said Cllr Oliver Garry, Cathaoirleach of the MWRA.

“This workshop focused on obligations of local authorities and provided strategic solutions to resourcing energy management through a series of presentations from other public sector organisations who have overcome this challenge. The support of the public sector is key to our objective of establishing a single sustainable energy strategy for the region.”

Energy efficiency image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years