€75m ESB fund launched to lower carbon footprint of energy heavy hitters

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ESB estimates that a new €75m fund will reduce Ireland’s carbon emissions by 2m tonnes by helping some of Ireland’s biggest energy users to retrofit their businesses. The fund includes up-front capital to support energy-saving infrastructural projects and is open to large businesses with an overall energy bill of more than €200,000 per year.

ESB said that the programme is balance sheet neutral and ESB’s Smart Energy Services team will produce an initial analysis of energy savings potential at no cost to the client. 300 similar projects have already been rolled out to more than 300 large businesses in Ireland and the UK, including Tesco, the Dublin Airport Authority and Ardagh Glass.

Welcoming the funding, the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications Eamon Ryan, TD said: “As Ireland transitions to a carbon-neutral future, companies must be encouraged to adopt technologies that will reduce their carbon emissions and energy costs. I welcome ESB’s initiative in supporting large energy commercial users, especially during these challenging times for businesses.”

More ambitious plans

As one of those to have availed of previous support from ESB, Tesco Ireland’s chief operating officer, Geoff Byrne, said it helped reduce the company’s overall energy consumption by 24pc in the last five years.

“Another aspect of our ESB Smart Energy Services partnership is that we are continuing to roll out our electric vehicle charging points at 52 store locations across the country, providing customers with convenience-based charging while they shop,” he said.

“With these initiatives, we are pleased to support the Government’s Climate Action Plan and to further deliver on our aim to become a zero-carbon retailer by 2050.”

The Government recently welcomed a more ambitious emissions reduction target set by the EU, to increase the 2030 target to at least 55pc from the previous target of 40pc. The Programme for Government released earlier this year set a national commitment of an average 7pc per annum reduction in overall greenhouse gas emissions from 2021 to 2030, which would be a 51pc reduction over the coming decade.

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