Ten of Ireland’s leading companies today committed themselves to conserve energy and tackle high costs under a major new scheme.
They signed up to Sustainable Energy Ireland’s Energy Agreement Programme which will see them undertake a fundamental review of their energy use.
The agreement could save the companies up to €20m 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 overall energy use by industry.
Natural Resources Minister Noel Dempsey said the companies were setting an excellent example to others.
“Society as a whole will reap the benefits which accrue from the combined activities of these organisations,” he said.
“In particular, the individual consumer will benefit from the 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 the fact that energy costs are at an all time high.
It has based its programme on similar successful schemes in other European countries where participating firms have achieved typical savings of over 15% of their energy bills over several years of sustained action.
CEOs from Aughinish Alumina Limited; Astellas Ireland Company Limited (Dublin Plant); Glanbia Ingredients; Intel Ireland Ltd; HJ Heinz Frozen & Chilled Foods Ltd; Lagan Cement; Pfizer Ireland Pharmaceuticals, Littleisland; Pfizer Ireland Pharmaceuticals, 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 of the top energy users in Ireland.
Aughinish Alumina in Limerick, Ireland’s largest energy user, is the first company in the country to implement a formal Energy Management Standard delivering cost savings and significant energy efficiencies.
Damien Clancy, Managing Director of Aughinish Alumina, said: “Energy costs are absolutely paramount to us and the Standard has certainly made an important contribution to their reduction.”
David Taylor, SEI Chief Executive, said the sustained increase in energy costs has added to the competitiveness pressures on Irish business.
“When combined with additional concerns about future availability, and the cost of environmental compliance, energy becomes a strategic priority for many Irish companies,” he said.
“The Energy Agreements Programme provides a strategic framework within which large energy users can address their energy needs and by doing so experience immediate bottom line benefits through reduced operating costs and improved profitability.”