Rabbitte reveals details of new national energy efficiency action plan

28 Feb 2013

Energy Minister Pat Rabbitte, TD

Details of the Irish Government’s latest National Energy Efficiency Action Plan (NEEAP) were revealed today by Ireland’s Energy Minister Pat Rabbitte, as well as more information on the €70m Energy Efficiency Fund that was announced last week.

Speaking at the Rotunda Hospital in Dublin this morning, Rabbitte said the new energy efficiency action plan reaffirms Ireland’s commitment to deliver on its 20pc energy savings target by 2020.

He said this would be equivalent to almost 32,000 gigawatt hours, or a reduction in annual CO2 emissions of around 7.7 mega tonnes.

“Put another way, this means a potential reduction in energy spend of approximately €2.4bn across all sectors of our economy,” said Rabbitte.

He said a key focus of the action plan would be getting the public sector to act as an exemplar in how it uses and procures energy.

However, he said energy suppliers will also have to play their part in helping Ireland meet its 2020 targets.

“Some more than others need to intensify their efforts to offer a much wider range of affordable energy services to their customers,” added Rabbitte.

NEEAP plan

The updated plan contains 97 actions, but Rabbitte highlighted some of these actions that he said would play a vital role in meeting national targets.

In the public sector, the Government is set to introduce a series of obligations on public sector bodies to address the consumption, procurement and reporting of energy use. Current public sector spending on energy is between €600m and €800m each year.

The Government is also working on a pay-as-you-save (PAYS) model for Ireland to replace existing exchequer supports for domestic and non-domestic energy efficiency upgrade measures.

As for the Better Energy programme, Rabbitte said it will deliver energy efficiency improvements across a number of sectors, including energy saving targets for energy suppliers.

He added that a cross-departmental implementation group will be ensuring that the actions contained in the plan are met.

On the lookout for private investors

In terms of the €70m energy efficiency fund, Rabbitte said it will “dramatically improve energy efficiency savings in public and commercial buildings right across the country”.

He expects that the fund will deliver up to 675 jobs for every €10m that’s spent on financing energy efficiency initiatives in the public and private sectors.

The Government has already committed €35m as seed capital for the fund and is now seeking matching funding of €35m from private investors.  

“We are confident that there is appetite within the financial community to get on board and back this initiative, which could potentially open up much larger investment opportunities,” said Rabbitte.

The Government’s Green International Financial Services Centre, the Green IFSC, is also working to identify possible international co-investors into the new fund.

In addition, Rabbitte said the Green IFSC will be co-ordinating a number of IFSC-based firms in applying to the fund to carry out retrofit activities.

Rabbitte also issued a call for exemplar projects from the public and private sectors to apply to the energy efficiency fund.

“We want to prove the concept at scale utilising about 20 pilot projects in 2013,” he said.

Selected projects will receive technical assistance from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) to help them access the energy efficiency fund.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic