Meeting energy goals to cost €23bn

Ireland needs to invest €22.8bn between now and 2020 if it is to fulfil its legal obligations under EU directives on the environment and energy efficiency targets, it emerged at the launch of Energy Cork.

A strategy document compiled by Energy Cork — the new energy sector cluster supported by Cork City Council and Cork County Council with the backing of Cork Chamber, — outlines the investment required to meet EU directives.

The bill is made up of: €10bn to retrofit buildings to meet with BER standards; €2bn for waste treatment; €8bn for water and water treatment; €0.87bn for climate change; and €2bn in other investment.

Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Minister Pat Rabbitte, who officially launched Energy Cork, said the State would not be able to fund this retrofitting.

“In the budget on Wednesday we announced a new Energy Efficiency Fund to stimulate the kind of investment necessary to support energy-efficiency projects in the public and commercial sectors. I am pleased that I was able to secure seed capital of €35m, with a view to establishing a leveraged fund that attracts matching private sector contributions.

“It will come as no surprise to anyone that the exchequer cannot continue to fund the scale of retrofit that is required to meet our 2020 target. A number of years ago a study put the opportunity at 1 million buildings that would require retrofit by 2020. I hope this new fund will kick-start investment of the type and scale we will need. The details are still being finalised,” he said.

Mr Rabbitte also disclosed that his department is finalising proposals for the financing of up to 20 exemplar energy-efficiency projects next year.

“In the existing economic climate, access to credit is particularly difficult for organisations seeking to reduce energy costs and carbon emissions. This sort of innovative financing mechanism will play an important role in unlocking the huge economic potential of energy efficiency within the domestic economy,” he said.

The minister said the Government’s aim remains an ambitious one — to position Ireland as a leading edge location for developing integrated energy solutions where knowledge-intensive international and Irish companies, along with leading research partners, can develop innovative energy solutions for global markets.

He singled out two institutions based in Cork as worthy of particular mention as exemplars of the successful interaction of research and development and innovation: the International Energy Research Centre and the Irish Maritime and Energy Research centre in Ringaskiddy.

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