Sunday 26 May 2019

ESB to deliver €150 million in savings to large businesses

John Walsh, General Manager of Smart Energy Services at ESB, working with businesses to reduce their energy costs
John Walsh, General Manager of Smart Energy Services at ESB, working with businesses to reduce their energy costs

ESB Smart Energy Services has gained a strong foothold in the energy services market in Ireland. John Walsh, General Manager of Smart Energy Services at ESB, tells us how they are helping businesses deliver savings through reduction of energy costs.

Smart Energy Services, a business unit in ESB, is to deliver €150 million in savings on energy costs for more than 300 large businesses in Ireland and the UK by 2020. This is in response to a growing demand for sustainable solutions and a reduction in energy costs especially by those companies with more energy-intensive technology and production output.

Since 2016, Smart Energy Services has already helped to deliver energy savings of more than €55 million for its customers by providing capital funding, energy management services and implementation of energy efficiency projects.

John Walsh explains, “Our large customers are experiencing increased energy costs, which is where we provide the necessary expertise. For example, if a company has an energy bill of around €2 million annually, we can help them save up to 40pc off that cost, which equates to €800,000 a year. That is incredibly important to a company’s bottom line.”

How customers make significant energy savings  

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Pat O’Doherty, Chief Executive ESB, and Dalton Philips, Chief Executive daa at the Dublin Airport Solar Farm. The solar farm is part of the energy agreement between the daa and ESB to achieve a 33pc reduction in energy consumption at the airport.

Smart Energy Services’ have delivered energy savings to high-profile companies such as Tesco, Coral Leisure, CHQ, BWG Foods and many more. One of the stand-out examples is daa, which operates Dublin and Cork Airports.

“We have worked with daa for a number of years,” says Walsh. “We understand how they use energy and we have seen opportunities where they can use new energy-efficient technology. As a public sector body, daa is under obligation to reduce their energy usage by over 20pc by 2020. By working with us, they now have a 10pc reduction in carbon emissions, and energy consumption across both Cork and Dublin terminals has been reduced by 42pc.”

“Dublin Airport is now on target to deliver more than a 33pc saving on costs for all their energy at the airports. Our solution involved installing solar photovoltaic panels to trap the sun’s energy. This was installed and activated within two months.”

ESB also work with BWG Foods which operates retail stores, including Spar and Londis, across Ireland. BWG Foods needed an energy partner with the capabilities to deliver energy-efficient lighting retrofits across a number of stores. ESB retrofitted the lights in 130 of those stores, swapping out traditional systems for energy-efficient LED lighting. This provided the new technology to the company without the need for a large capital investment.

“With this solution, we managed to reduce their energy consumption by 60pc and reduced CO2 emissions by 1,781 tonnes.”

Other reasons to think about energy efficiency

But, it is not all about the bottom line. Companies want to become more sustainable and be part of helping the country achieve the national target of improving energy efficiency by more than 20pc by 2020. Consumers today also expect the businesses they interact with to be more sustainable in their work practices and delivery. A 2017 international study conducted by Unilever, found that more than a third of consumers preferred to buy from sustainable brands.

“It is becoming more and more important to reduce carbon emissions,” says Walsh. “Companies who make that change quickly will definitely have a competitive advantage over others.”


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Monika Wojtek, Operations Director, CHQ achieved 60pc savings from a retrofit lighting project in partnership with ESB. Photo by Andres Poveda Photography.

ESB’s Smart Energy Services team come from a range of disciplines and backgrounds, and provide expertise in energy supply, sustainable technology, systems and project management.

John Walsh adds: “We have a team of 30 engineers in Ireland and 30 in the UK at the moment. These engineers have worked on electricity and energy projects throughout their careers. They have expertise in designing and maintaining different types of energy systems and delivering solutions that impact the bottom line.”

And with staff of more than 7,000 highly skilled people within the ESB Group, the Smart Energy Services team has the support and expertise of those at the front-line of the energy and electricity day-to-day operations.

“When a company comes to us for help with their energy savings, the first thing we do is to take the time to understand their operations and how they work,” says Walsh. “It is common for one of our engineers to work with the customer for several months to understand the business inside-out, before we propose any measures. For instance, if we work with a hospital, we research and understand the critical areas in the hospital to see what they absolutely require for the smooth operation of the facility. Understandably, a hospital needs to have full confidence that they will always have power. Once we understand a company’s needs, we then design a set of measures appropriate for that business.”

Some of the measures Smart Energy Services propose include upgrades to lighting systems, storage upgrades and advice about energy management systems. They also propose large-scale renewable energy projects such as wind, solar, and geothermal, so businesses can generate their own energy on-site.

“We work with every industry. We have commercial customers such as supermarkets, retail centres and airports. We also have large industrial customers who have heavy-duty equipment such as processing plants and large dairies. We have a customer who recycles large amounts of glass. These different customers have very different requirements, and we provide every business with a bespoke solution.”

Future developments

ESB is committed to a low-carbon future, with customers at the very heart of their drive to reduce emissions.

“There is so much energy-efficient technology, and e-solutions which weren’t around six months ago, that are available now,” says Walsh. “It’s such an exciting and energetic industry. We work with start-up companies and universities which help to generate new technology ideas. We use these to help our customers in every way we can.

“The energy management world changes so quickly. There are a number of investments in R&D at the moment. By investing in new technologies, forging partnerships across the world and developing new solutions, I believe we are helping to build a brighter future.”

For more information visit: and ESB Smart Energy Services on Youtube

Sponsored by: ESB

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