The Programme for Government commits Ireland to achieving energy efficiency savings of 20% by 2020 and 33% for the public sector.
Speaking at the EirGrid Annual Customer Conference in Dublin, Eamon Ryan TD, Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, launched Ireland's first-ever National Energy Efficiency Action Plan. This plan contains a number of Government initiatives across a variety of areas, in order to meet this target.
Minister Ryan said - "Our energy efficiency targets in the Programme for Government will not be easy to fulfil. When we consider that our energy demands have grown by 70% in the past 15 years, then we see that this is a huge task.
"Energy efficiency is no longer optional. It is necessary if we are to mitigate our vulnerability to climate change and to volatile fuel prices. Reduction in energy costs and security of supply are essential to secure our national competitiveness. The scale of the challenge demands that our response is national and all-encompassing. This Action Plan reaches across the many arms of Government, throughout business and into homes.
"We have set the bar even higher for the public sector. I intend that Ireland's public sector will be an exemplar of energy efficiency - from Departments, to Garda barracks. Beginning with lightbulbs - moving to Energy Ratings on all public buildings - I believe the public sector can lead the way.
"We want to maintain our quality of life, while using less. If we reach our targets, we will save an estimated €1.7 billion every year - or the equivalent of 3 million tonnes of oil. This Action Plan sets us on the right path."
Highlights of the Action Plan include -
* Introduction of Energy Efficiency Programmes for all Government Departments, state agencies, local authorities, the Health service and all other public sector areas;
* Guidelines for 'green public procurement' in the public sector - all public bodies to purchase only energy-efficient lighting from end of 2007;
* All street and traffic lights to be energy-efficient;
* Energy Ratings system to apply to all public buildings from 2008;
* Publish an annual report - 'Energy Efficiency in Ireland' - to monitor progress.
Other areas/sectors which are covered in the report include - Business, Residential homes, Transport, Research & Development and Cross-sectoral measures including taxation.
The Plan now enters its public consultation period. The Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources is inviting submissions on the contents of the Action Plan by close of business on 16 November 2007.
Submission can be made by post to -
Renewable & Sustainable Energy Division
Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources
29-31 Adelaide Road
Or, by email to - email@example.com