Head of IEA states investing in low carbon technologies is essential for Ireland

The Executive Director of the International Energy Agency (IEA), Ms Maria van der Hoeven, today stated that investing in low-carbon technologies makes economic sense and is essential for Ireland, given its comparative advantage in renewable sources of energy.   Ms Van der Hoeven, who yesterday launched the IEA’s 2012 Review of Ireland’s Energy Policies, was speaking during a visit to the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) in Dundalk to learn about its Sustainable Energy Communities programme and see first-hand the exemplary work which has been done in developing a sustainable energy community in Dundalk.

Ireland is advanced in initiating community-centred action to deliver sustainable energy transformation.  Dundalk Sustainable Energy Community, the first of its kind in Ireland, was established in 2007.  Work to date has involved the installation of energy efficient technologies in a wide range of buildings as well as implementing energy efficient behavioural change.  So far annual estimated energy savings are €1,000,000 and 6,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions are being avoided each year.

Dr Brian Motherway, Chief Executive of SEAI, said: “We are delighted to have the IEA witness the impressive achievements to date in Dundalk’s Sustainable Energy Community.  We know that Irish people can have a strong sense of community spirit and when people work together great things can be achieved.”

During her visit, Ms Van der Hoeven visited Great Northern Haven, a highly energy efficient residential complex that assists independent living for older people  and represents the first integration of community care, physical environment and innovative technology.

Commenting Ms Van der Hoeven said, “Ireland has really embraced the sustainable energy agenda, especially through its Communities programme and retrofitting work.  Many homes, businesses and communities are benefitting as a result. As a next step, Ireland needs to fast track its development of clean energy, especially given its enviable supply of clean, renewable energy sources. This makes absolute economic sense.”

Continuing, Dr Motherway said: “ We know Ireland has significant potential in renewable energy and clean technology.  And just yesterday, the IEA’s five year review of Ireland pointed to this.  I’m confident that Government, industry and state agencies are equally aware of the economic and social benefit to be achieved from developing clean sources of energy and will work tirelessly together to make this happen.”

Representatives from Louth County Council, the driving force behind the structured development of Dundalk Sustainable Energy Community, also met with the IEA today. The County Manager, Conn Murray said: “We are very proud that Louth was the first Local Authority in Ireland to advance the Communities pilot and test these sustainable energy practices and technologies. The response in the area has been tremendous and we are about to commence the next phase of the project having secured €1million in funding to develop a low-carbon business network and signed collaboration agreements with the towns of Newry and Mourne.”

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