Sunday 25 September 2016

Public bodies may miss EU's power targets

Published 26/01/2016 | 02:30

State bodies and their energy use
State bodies and their energy use

Some of the largest consumers of power in the public sector risk not meeting legally binding EU targets, despite slashing energy bills by €120m.

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A new report from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) says the public sector is broadly on track to reduce consumption and achieve a cut of 33pc by 2020, but that some bodies must make rapid improvements.

The Annual Report on Public Sector Energy Efficiency Performance says that of the 281 bodies which provided verifiable data, 41pc are on track to meet the targets. Meanwhile, another 29pc are making savings but are not on track.

But almost 13pc are using more energy than before, while data for another 10pc could not be verified.

The drive towards energy efficiency is designed to reduce energy bills but also carbon emissions, which drive dangerous climate change. The report says that overall, public bodies have achieved a 17pc cut in usage, around half-way to the target.

Some 87pc of the total energy consumption was accounted for by 281 public bodies and 977 schools.

It also notes that in 2009, information from 16,000 meters providing electricity to agencies was recorded.

This has now increased to 40,000, meaning more information is being collated.

The report also finds:

Some 324 public bodies were requested to submit data. Some 281 reported, while 30 submitted incomplete data which could not be included.

Among those that failed to report are the Garda Inspectorate, National Concert Hall, NUI Galway, three port companies including Shannon Foynes, Waterford and New Ross and the National Sports Campus Development Authority.

977 schools reported for the first time. Some 3,745 were asked to provide data.

The public sector used 9,106 GWh of electricity in 2014, which cost €599m.

Savings achieved amount to 1,840 GWh, which is equivalent to 418,000 tonnes of carbon saved.

This amounts to a 17pc improvement on business as usual, representing a cost saving of €121m.

The measures used to reduce consumption include reducing water heating and air handling in buildings, and installing solar panels to produce electricity.

The SEAI has overseen 1,650 projects in 2014, including upgrading rolling stock and facilities by Irish Rail which saved €22m.

"For the past 10 years we have engaged in a number of projects which have dramatically reduced our energy costs," chief executive David Franks said.

"These efficiencies have contributed significant savings to our bottom line, but even more importantly it has made us the most sustainable form of land transport in Ireland," he added.

Irish Independent

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