My Department and its enterprise development agencies are committed to participating in emission reduction efforts and have a range of specific actions under the Climate Action Plan to support decarbonisation across a number of industry sectors. Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland have a range of supports available to client companies to aid enterprises in reducing CO2 emissions as set out below.
- The GreenStart programme is targeted towards SMEs to aid with regulatory compliance and the management of resources such as energy and water.
- The GreenPlus Assignment programme is targeted at developing high levels of environmental management capabilities within firms.
- Enterprise Ireland also has a directory of Green Service Providers which are qualified and available to undertake the assignments under the GreenStart programme.
- The Lean/Green offering encourages firms to implement the Lean business principles paired with good environmental management practices.
- The GoGreen suite is designed to achieve international environmental best practice standards. There are programmes within this suite including GreenStart, GreenPlus; and
- The Environmental Aid Programme facilitates enterprises to invest in energy efficiency schemes and capital investment, such as installing CHP (Combined Heat and Power) systems.
The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) also has a range of initiatives targeted at enterprises, including the “Lighting Support Scheme for SMEs” and the “Excellence in Energy Efficient Design”, or EXCEED programme, which incorporates energy efficiency into design projects and offers support funding for SMEs. The SEAI also offers Project Assistance Grants, which are to support the development of energy saving projects and facilitates companies to access Accelerated Capital Allowances, a tax incentive scheme aimed at promoting the investment in energy efficient products and equipment.
In order to stimulate collaboration and investment in new technologies to facilitate carbon abatement, my Department administers the Government’s Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund, one of four funds in the National Development Plan 2018-2027. Applications to the fund align with the ‘Research Priority Areas’ which include “Energy, Climate Action and Sustainability: Decarbonising the Energy System and Sustainable Living”. The Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund is open to decarbonisation solutions across the economy.
As per Action 36 of the Climate Action Plan 2019 my Department and its agencies will be driving the decarbonisation agenda across their client base. Our Enterprise agencies are regularly reviewing their environmental offering with a view to promoting environmental schemes to a larger cohort of client companies.
The Climate Action Plan includes a number of further proposals which will assist enterprises in decarbonising their operations, and thereby enhancing their resilience. These include a 'one-stop-shop' for the retrofitting of premises, promoting the wider use of Energy Performance Contracting and to enable the SEAI engage SMEs, expand the EXCEED program and work on a menu of actions to support decarbonisation in large industry.
I will continue to work with both the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment on reaching the longer-term ambitions set out in the Plan, as well as the Enterprise Agencies to ensure that enterprises have access to supports that aid their abatement of CO2 emissions.