I propose to take Questions Nos. 260 and 261 together.
The Energy Efficiency Obligation Scheme (EEOS) is implemented in Ireland under Article 7 of the Energy Efficiency Directive (which was transposed by Statutory Instruments (SI's) 131 of 2014 and 634 of 2016). The Directive imposes a legal obligation on Member States to achieve new savings each year, from 1 January 2014 to 31 December 2020, equivalent to 1.5% of the annual energy sales to final customers of all energy distributors and all retail energy sales companies. The EEOS places obligations on energy suppliers and distributors, who sell more than 600 gigawatt hours (GWh) of energy per year, to deliver savings from energy efficiency measures. Obligated Parties are required to deliver their savings across all sectors, with 75% to come from the non-residential sector, 25% from the residential sector. Of the 25% residential target , 5% of savings must come from energy poor dwellings. In 2018 the combined obligated target for all Parties is 700 GWh of energy savings.
Supported by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), which administers the scheme, there are a number of ways in which my Department engages with the Obligated Parties. I issue each obligated party with an Energy Efficiency Notice that details their annual targets and sectorial breakdown, and penalties for non-compliance. SEAI provides reports to the Obligated Parties and the Department on progress to target. Senior representatives of the Obligated Parties meet with my officials and the SEAI at quarterly EEOS Governance Group meetings, which are chaired by a senior official of the Department and cover the operation and governance of the scheme. Obligated parties meet regularly on an informal basis with the SEAI to discuss their progress on the scheme, and with my Department as part of regular stakeholder engagement with the energy sector. Where changes are proposed to the scheme, Obligated Parties are invited to workshops by SEAI and are also invited to submit written proposals.
As regards the methods Obligated Parties use to achieve to achieve energy savings, in the non-residential sector, these include, upgrades to lighting, ventilation and air conditioning, heating systems, motors, drives and pumps etc. In the residential sector, most of the measures are fabric upgrades (insulation) or heating and control upgrades. Since the scheme commenced in 2014, obligated parties have delivered a large number of electric-based heating projects, which include the installation of Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plants towards non-residential targets and the installation of heat pump systems towards residential targets. There have also been a number of transport projects focusing primarily on eco-driving, fleet and energy management. This year, some Obligated Parties are proposing to carry out a number of projects to promote the uptake of electric vehicles and the installation of charging infrastructure, particularly in the commercial sector.
The objective of the Scheme is to incentivise a competitive market to deliver energy savings. While Obligated Parties do report the measures they carry out to the SEAI and to my Department for monitoring and reporting purposes, the measures they choose to carry out to meet their targets are a commercial decision for them.
Energy efficiency is the first step in reducing our dependence on fossil fuel. The less energy we use, and the more flexibly we use it, the easier it is to integrate low carbon generation, transport and heating technologies. By the end of 2020, the scheme is required to deliver 4,375 GWh of savings. As of the end of 2017 the obligated parties have delivered just over 2,600 GWh in savings under the scheme. This demonstrates the crucial importance of the scheme for Ireland's progress to its 2020 energy efficiency target - a crucial milestone in our path to a low carbon energy future.