Sustainable Energy Ireland (SEI) has published its annual report for 2006.
The report highlights a number of milestones which were achieved in 2006 including the Warmer Homes Scheme which substantially improved the insulation standards of 2,100 low-income homes and the House of Tomorrow Programme - which, to-date, has supported 5,000 energy efficient new homes in Ireland.
David Taylor, CEO, SEI said - "This has been an exciting and productive year of energy policy in Ireland. The Green Paper - 'Towards a Sustainable Energy Future for Ireland' - was released for discussion in 2006. It identified the essentials of the way forward as regards development of renewables and energy efficiency and it set the stage for the issuing of the White Paper in 2007.
"We look forward to putting in place - in conjunction with Government - the roadmap, which will guide the development of the market to the benefit of producers and consumers alike."
SEI continued to advance the wide range of programmes it champions across the economy to promote sustainable energy usage - as well as the development of renewable energy solutions for the commercial, industrial, residential and public sectors.
Key achievements included -
* SEI's Dundalk 20:20 project commenced in 2006 with an aim of stimulating a national move towards sustainable energy practice within a designated Sustainable Energy Zone in Dundalk.
The creation of this project coincided with SEI - acting as project coordinator - receiving substantial funding under the European Commission's 6th Framework Research and Development Programme (FP6).
* Over 11,500 applications for domestic renewable heating systems were approved under the Greener Homes Scheme and almost €5 million in grants was paid in the nine months following the launch of the scheme on the 26th March 2006.
* SEI launched its Ocean Energy Strategy while funding the construction and installation of two large scale wave-energy prototypes that have undergone testing in Galway Bay.
One of these projects - Open Hydro - installed its first large-scale grid-connected 160KW tidal generator with SEI support in November 2006.
* SEI extended its support programmes for large business by launching the Energy Agreements Programme, supporting firms implementing IS 393 - the Irish Energy Management Standard.
The standard is one of only four fully certifiable energy management standards in the world and is already proving successful in driving strong energy cost savings.
* Increased production of energy generated from renewable sources including a 66% increase in wind generated electricity.
* Of the 5,000 housing units across every county in Ireland, which have been supported under SEI's House of Tomorrow Programme, 2,100 homes were occupied by December 2006.