Prior to 2015, little or no energy efficiency works were being undertaken by Louth County Council and there was no evidence of a system for encouraging energy efficiency projects at county level.
Under EU and national legislation, public sector bodies, including local authorities, are required to reduce energy by 33% by 2020 relative to 2009. In addition, Ireland has a national target of 20% reduction in energy use by 2020 relative to average energy usage between 2000 and 2005. Given that there was no obvious system in place to promote the non-public sector target, the Council established a dedicated energy team. This team’s focus was to establish a system for encouraging energy efficiency in the county.
Louth County Council, working in partnership with Dundalk Institute of Technology, other public bodies, community groups and local businesses, secured an investment in excess of ¤3.3 million from the SEAI for community energy projects in the north-east region for successive years between 2015 and 2019.
Benefits of Solution
The estimated actual energy savings achieved by the community energy projects in the north-east region between 2015 and 2018 is 10,700,000kWhrs (10.7GWhrs).
The solution resulted in estimated total expenditure on energy projects in the region of ¤8,550,000, including total grant funding by SEAI of ¤3,346,693 between 2015 and 2018.
The process was led by Louth County Council and this formed a key objective of the Louth Economic Forum Energy Task Group – that forum consists of the business interests in County Louth. The process involved a partnership with Dundalk Institute of Technology and was promoted in order to encourage active participation in a grant application for energy works across the entire community.