Ireland has launched a €70 million ($91 million) Energy Efficiency Fund intended to reduce energy use in public and commercial buildings across the country.
The fund, which is the cornerstone of Ireland’s second National Energy Efficiency Action Plan (NEEAP), could deliver up to 675 jobs, both direct and indirect, for every €10 million ($13 million) spent, according to Irish Energy Minister Pat Rabbitte.
The NEEAP sets an energy-saving target of 20 percent by 2020, which Rabbitte says will save the country €2.4 billion ($3.1 billion) in energy costs.
The Irish government has earmarked $45 million in seed capital for the energy efficiency fund, and expects matching private sector investments, The Energy Collective reports. The fund will start lending money this year.
A project can potentially borrow up to 100 percent of the money required; funding will depend on the project itself and the credit risk involved.
The fund is available to both the public and private sectors. Rabbitte said selected projects will receive technical assistance from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), which would be designed to help them access the fund.
The Irish public sector spends $780 million to $1.04 billion per year on energy, UPI reports.
In a November 2012 column for Energy Manager Today, Enrit COO Mike Brogan says strong commitment from the Irish government has been a major driving force in the development and implementation of energy management standards in Ireland. In 1995 the SEAI established LIEN (Large Industry Energy Network), a voluntary network involving 160 companies representing 60 percent of Ireland’s industrial energy use. The county has since saved €150 million ($195.6 million) in avoided energy costs, Brogan writes.
Photo Credit: The Irish Labour Party