The 22 projects under the exemplar programme, which are supported by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland, are also expected to result in the creation of 500 jobs

The first tranche of exemplar energy-efficiency projects to be supported by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) under the Action Plan for Jobs has been announced. These include a number of companies working in or with the engineering sector, including Boliden Tara Mines, Carbery Group, Dimpco Ltd, GE Healthcare and Roadstone.

Exemplar projects are demonstration projects that are prepared to use, test and provide feedback on the approach, tools and structures detailed in the National Energy Services Framework. Exemplars will receive additional supports in the form of training, networking and access to a panel of legal and technical experts to review and comment at key stages of the projects.

In return, the participating organisations must commit to actively provide feedback on use of the Framework – demonstrating that the Framework is robust and has the capacity to deliver at scale in 2013 and beyond.

Collectively, the exemplars will invest up to €55 million in energy-saving measures, resulting in annual savings of €7 million. It is also estimated that they will support over 500 jobs. Many of these projects will be eligible to avail of loan finance under the Government’s National Energy Efficiency Fund announced in February.

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The Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources developed the National Energy Services Framework to help develop the energy-efficiency market in the non-domestic sector throughout Ireland. Following the commitment in the National Energy Efficiency Action Plan and the Programme for Government 2011–2016, the Framework sets out the roadmap through which energy-efficiency projects and an Energy Performance Contracting process will be developed.

It explains the process to date and provides guidance on routes to project development, together with sources of finance and the support available from the SEAI to help develop projects in the public and commercial sector.

The key aim of the Framework is to develop robust projects that are investment-ready for financing entities, such as the National Energy Efficiency Fund. This will stimulate the development of an energy services company (ESCO) market, consisting of small, medium and large ESCOs, supporting sustainable employment in construction and professional services.

Pat Rabbitte, Minister for Energy, Communications and Natural Resources, said that the companies involved in the exemplar projects come from various sectors of the economy. These include a number of engineering initiatives:

  • Boliden Tara Mines, Europe’s largest zinc mine, is combining variable speed drives and control systems to optimise the operation of its large ventilation fan system. This will be funded through third party-financed energy performance contracting (EPC);
  • Carbery Group’s exemplar project is centred on the installation of a new independently operated energy centre and switching the generation of base load to renewable energy. The project involves replacing five existing antiquated boilers on site with two new-high efficiency boilers. One of the new boilers will be a biomass boiler (with potential cash injection of €1.6 million into the local economy for fuel supply) and the second is a modern natural gas-fired boiler to replace technology that is over 40 years old. This is to be delivered using a local energy supply contract;
  • Carton Brothers, an Irish family-run business, is proposing a project focused on upgrading of their processing plant and provender feed mill likely to include electrical and thermal system upgrades, fabric improvements and process control system improvements, delivered through an EPC;
  • Dimpco Ltd, part of the Irish-owned Glen Dimplex company that manufactures a wide range of energy-saving equipment, will act as an aggregator as well as ESCO for the delivery of heating retrofits across six pig farms. The solution will have a robust energy performance-related payments structure in the contract;
  • Roadstone Wood Ltd, a subsidiary of CRH plc, will focus on motors, water pumping and compressed air systems. With ESCO support, it is planned to assess and install more efficient equipment. Variable speed drives and control systems will be upgraded in a number of sites across the country, delivered through an EPC solution;
  • Against a background of rising output and likely energy consumption and cost increases, GE Healthcare hopes to minimise the impact though outsourcing a number of energy efficiency upgrades through an ESCO. Areas targeted include boiler output optimisation, heat pump technology to utilise waste heat from production process, steam generation efficiency improvements, chilled water efficiency improvements, heat recovery from compressors and control and monitoring systems.

Included in the exemplar projects are three public-lighting upgrades by Fingal, Kerry and Mayo County Councils. These projects will involve a €30 million investment to upgrade almost 50,000 public lights and will support 200 jobs, according to Minister Rabbitte. Dublin City Council is also one of the exemplar projects.


Other organisations involved include food-sector companies such as Liffey Meats and Carton Bros (Manorpark Foods), where energy upgrades and subsequent savings will help to improve competitiveness and to sustain jobs in Irish manufacturing.

The scheme also includes educational institutions such as Dublin City University, University College Cork, the Institute of Technology Tralee, Kildare VEC and Letterkenny Institute of Technology, as well as State bodies such as the Irish Prison Service and Health Service Executive (West).

Finally, Sligo’s Radisson Hotel and Dublin’s Four Seasons Hotel have signed up, along with St John of God Hospital and supermarket behemoth Tesco. The public and commercial sector projects will test different approaches to energy service contracting and financing, including full EPC wherein payment for energy upgrades is linked to a specified energy performance improvement.

Typically, the organisations participating in the programme will outsource their projects to an ESCO to assist in unlocking the energy saving potential which can be between 20% and 50% for any given project. Energy savings are generally higher with ESCO projects given the binding nature of the contracts. The contractual arrangements and approaches to assess, procure, measure and pay for such services are detailed in the National Energy Services Framework developed by SEAI with the assistance of industry partners.

“A critical driver in the creation of jobs in a tight economy is a combination of State and private investment pitched appropriately, professionally and efficiently at key projects that have clear deliverable benefits,” said Minister Rabbitte at the launch in Dublin City University. “I’m delighted to announce the 22 exemplar projects that all appear to fit that bill perfectly.

“Government has set an ambitious target, which is to transform Ireland into one of the most energy efficient economies in Europe by 2020 – today’s swathe of exemplar projects encourages me that we are on the right track.”

Brian Motherway, chief executive of the SEAI, said that there had been keen interest from companies in this initiative, reflecting the growing awareness of energy efficiency as a business opportunity. “These organisations are leading the way because they know the economic and job gains are there for the taking,” according to Motherway. “Their work will create jobs and reduce energy bills, and when others see what’s possible, I’m confident that they too will act.”

Further information on the exemplar projects and the National Energy Services Framework can be found on SEAI’s website. O'RiordanElecenergy,government,SEAI
The first tranche of exemplar energy-efficiency projects to be supported by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) under the Action Plan for Jobs has been announced. These include a number of companies working in or with the engineering sector, including Boliden Tara Mines, Carbery Group, Dimpco Ltd, GE...