€70m Energy Efficiency Fund, issues a call for Exemplar Projects

Energy Minister, Pat Rabbitte T.D., today formally announced a €70m Energy Efficiency Fund (EEF) that he says will “dramatically improve energy efficiency savings in public and commercial buildings right across the country.” A key deliverable of the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs, the projections are that the Fund will deliver up to 675 jobs, direct and indirect, for every €10 million expenditure.

The Fund is a cornerstone of Ireland’s second National Energy Efficiency Action Plan published today. It will provide finance to energy efficiency projects across all sectors of the economy. The Minister today also issued a call for Exemplar Projects from the public and private sectors; selected projects will receive technical assistance from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) designed to help them access the EEF.

Speaking at the Fund and Action Plan launch at Dublin’s Rotunda Hospital which has recently benefited from important efficiency measures, Minister Rabbitte said “We see a significant win in terms of jobs and energy savings by placing an increased focus on energy saving in the public and commercial sectors. We want to trigger large investments through this fund. I’m also pleased that through the call for Exemplar Projects we will make money available this year for a number of projects to be provided with technical assistance in order to ensure they become investment-ready.”

The National Energy Efficiency Action Plan (NEEAP) outlines how Ireland will deliver the national 2020 energy saving target of 20% which will save Ireland €2.4 billion in energy costs. Ireland is on track to exceed this target which will result in avoided carbon emissions of 7.7mt – equivalent to the emissions of 1.2 million homes. A key focus of the second Action Plan is for the public sector to act as an exemplar in how it uses and procures energy.

Commenting on NEEAP, Minister Rabbitte said “The potential impact of energy efficiency on the Irish economy cannot be overstated. The NEEAP represents a huge opportunity to reduce energy bills for consumers, businesses and the public sector. When we deliver the 20% energy saving target in 2020 we will have taken a €2.4 billion energy burden out of the economy – the benefit of which will be felt throughout the length and breadth of the country. However, energy suppliers must play their part in this and some more than others need to intensify their efforts to offer a much wider range of affordable energy services to their customers.”

Dr. Motherway, CEO of the SEAI remarked “Energy efficiency is all about stopping sending money abroad to import energy, and spending it instead on technology and labour in the local economy. It creates jobs, keeps business competitive, and brings social and environmental benefits. The new energy efficiency fund is a great opportunity, and those interested should contact SEAI for further information.”

Master of the Rotunda, Dr Sam Coulter-Smith, spoke about the “outstandingly successful” energy efficiency project undertaken in the Hospital last year with the support of Better Energy Workplaces: “Having witnessed first-hand the benefits of energy efficiency in the hospital, I am pleased to welcome the Minister to the Rotunda today. Having achieved savings of 23% on gas and 9% on electricity following our participation in the Better Energy Workplaces programme, I would encourage other organisations with large energy bills to actively look at energy saving solutions.”