Energy scheme to save firms €20m

TEN of Ireland’s leading companies have committed themselves to conserving energy and tackle high costs under a major new scheme.

They have signed up to Sustainable Energy Ireland’s (SEI) Energy Agreement programme, which will see them undertake a fundamental review of their energy use.

The agreement could save the companies up to €20 million over the next three years, while SEI said the country’s Top 50 energy-using firms could save a total of €50m over the same period if they all signed up.

In Ireland, just 10% of companies account for 90% of industry energy use.

Natural Resources Minister Noel Dempsey said the companies were setting an excellent example.

“Society as a whole will reap the benefits which accrue from the combined activities of these organisations,” he said.

“The individual consumer will benefit from maintenance of their competitiveness. I am right behind the effort of these companies and encourage all major industrial energy users to come on board.”

The SEI said industrial competitiveness could be threatened if companies do not respond effectively to spiralling energy costs.

The programme is based on similar schemes in other European countries where participating firms have achieved typical savings of over 15% on energy bills.

Chief executives from Aughinish Alumina; Astellas Ireland (Dublin plant); Glanbia Ingredients; Intel Ireland; HJ Heinz Frozen & Chilled Foods; Lagan Cement; Pfizer Ireland, Little Island; Pfizer Ireland, Loughbeg; Wyeth Medica Ireland (Newbridge) and Xerox (Europe) Limited attended the signing ceremony at Dublin Castle.

The programme is to be expanded in the future to incorporate another 40 top energy users in Ireland.

Aughinish Alumina in Limerick, Ireland’s largest energy user, is the first company to implement a formal energy management standard, delivering cost savings and energy efficiencies.

Aughinish Alumina managing director Damien Clancy said: “Energy costs are paramount to us and the standard has made an important contribution to their reduction.”

David Taylor, SEI chief executive, said increased energy costs has added to competitiveness pressures on Irish business.

“The Energy Agreements Programme provides a strategic framework within which large energy users can address their energy needs and experience immediate bottom line benefits.”

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