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Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Pat Rabbitte TD, announced details of a 70m Energy Efficiency Fund (EEF) which will “dramatically improve energy efficiency savings in public and commercial buildings right across the country”.

The Fund, which is a cornerstone of Ireland’s second National Energy Efficiency Action Plan (NEEAP), could deliver up to 675 jobs, both direct and indirect, for every 10m in expenditure, according to the Minister.

Following the formal announcement of the Fund, the Minister issued a call for Exemplar Projects from the public and private sectors. He explained that selected projects would receive technical assistance from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) which would be designed to help them access the EEF. In line with the second Action Plan, the Government hopes that the public sector can act as an exemplar in how it uses and procures energy.

Ireland is currently on track to exceed its national 2020 energy saving target of 20 percent and the second NEEAP, published this week, outlines how we can set about reaching this target, which would save the country 2.4bn in energy costs

Commenting on this, Minister Rabbitte said “The potential impact of energy efficiency on the Irish economy cannot be overstated. The NEEAP represents a huge opportunity to reduce energy bills for consumers, businesses and the public sector. When we deliver the 20 percent energy saving target in 2020 we will have taken a 2.4bn energy burden out of the economy – the benefit of which will be felt throughout the length and breadth of the country.”

Dr Motherway, CEO of the SEAI also commented on the new Fund, stating: “Energy efficiency is all about stopping sending money abroad to import energy, and spending it instead on technology and labour in the local economy. It creates jobs, keeps business competitive, and brings social and environmental benefits.”