Overcoming the Barriers to Improving SME Energy Performance Through Grant-Aided Energy Audit Vouchers

Overcoming the Barriers to Improving SME Energy Performance Through Grant-Aided Energy Audit Vouchers

Like other EU member states, Ireland has binding targets for 2030. Ireland has committed in its NECP to reducing overall GHG emissions annually by 7 % on average towards 2030, representing the equivalent of a 45 % reduction between 1990 and 2030, or 51 % from the end of 2018 baseline.

According to the most recent EIB Investment Survey carried out in 2020, Ireland performs poorly in terms of investment in energy efficiency compared to the EU-27 average. The share of firms (36%) having invested in measures, to improve their energy efficiency is 36%, is well below the EU average (47%). The average share of investment in measures to improve energy efficiency by firms in Ireland (6%) is half the EU average (12%).

Firms in Ireland are much less likely than EU firms to have had an energy audit in the past four years (36% versus 55%), to have set internal targets on carbon emissions and energy consumption (19% versus 41%), or to have designated a person to develop and monitor their climate change strategies (10% versus 23%).

In order to help partly address these relatively low scores regarding energy efficiency across Irish firms, the SEAI has launched a new business voucher scheme for SMEs – the Support Scheme for Energy Audits (SSEA).

Under the SSEA, SMEs who: spend at least €10,000 per annum on energy; are tax compliant; registered in Ireland and have a CRO number, and are not obligated by SI 426:2014 to complete an audit; can apply for a voucher to cover the cost of an Energy Audit.

The Energy Audit will help SMEs to understand their energy use and will make recommendations on the most effective ways to save money on their energy bills.

The aim of the Energy Audit is to identify energy-saving opportunities in a facility, process, or system. This is achieved by inspecting and analysing how energy is used in order to minimise energy use without adversely affecting outputs.

The Energy Audits supported under the SSEA will look at electricity, gas, oil, diesel, and any other energy sources that are used at the Facility. The Energy Audit will include transport fuel for the company fleet, if applicable, but will not look at processes and activities that occur offsite.

The Voucher is awarded to the Applicant (the SME) who will then use it to pay the Auditor, once the audit is complete. The Auditor will claim the cost of the Voucher from SEAI.

The Voucher amount provided by the SEAI is €2,000 (ex. VAT). In most cases, this will be sufficient to cover the entire cost of the Energy Audit Support. For more information or to apply, please click on the link here.

The Energy Audits must be completed by an SEAI Registered Energy Auditor (of which Antaris is one – click here for more information). The SSEA is open for applications (as of July 2021) and will remain open continually, subject to annual budget caps.

Source: https://www.eib.org/attachments/efs/eibis_2020_ireland_en.pdf