The first tranche of exemplar energy efficiency projects to be supported by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) under the Action Plan for Jobs has been announced. Collectively the Exemplars will invest up to €55 million in energy saving measures, resulting in annual savings of €7 million, and supporting over 500 jobs. Many of these projects will be eligible to avail of loan finance under the Government’s National Energy Efficiency Fund announced in February.
Of the projects detailed are three public lighting upgrades by Fingal, Kerry and Mayo County Councils which will involve a €30 million 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 help to improve competitiveness and sustain jobs in Irish manufacturing. The public and commercial sector projects will test different approaches to energy service contracting and financing, including full Energy Performance Contracting (EPC) wherein payment for energy upgrades is linked to a specified energy performance improvement.
Typically the organisations participating in the programme will outsource their projects to an energy services company or ESCO to assist in unlocking the energy saving potential which can be between 20% and 50% for any given project. Energy savings are generally higher with ESCO projects given the binding nature of the contracts. The contractual arrangements and approaches to assess, procure, measure and pay for such services are detailed in the National Energy Services Framework developed by SEAI with the assistance of industry partners.
Brian Motherway, Chief Executive SEAI, says: “There has been keen interest from companies in this initiative, reflecting the growing awareness of energy efficiency as a business opportunity. These organisations are leading the way because they know the economic and job gains are there for the taking. Their work will create jobs and reduce energy bills, and when others see what is possible I am confident they too will act.”