Glen Dimplex says heating system may knock €650m off domestic heating bills
Manufacturing group Glen Dimplex is investing €10 million in a new product that it says could knock €650 million a year off Irish consumers’ heating bills.
The group, one of Ireland’s biggest companies, has also pledged to put a total of €10 million into two investment funds that the Government intends operating jointly with the private sector.
Glen Dimplex yesterday launched a new domestic storage heating system that will feed off cheap surplus green electricity.
Chairman and chief executive Sean O’Driscoll said the company intended spending €10 million on developing the product, which is known as the Quantum system.
“That is the largest amount we have ever spent on one technology,” Mr O’Driscoll said.
“It’s being developed in Dunleer, Portadown and Newry and it is going to be produced in Portadown and we will be investing fairly significantly across the three sites.”
The heaters work by storing surplus energy generated at off-peak times by wind farms and then releasing it as heat when it is needed.
They are equipped with technology that communicates with the national grid or individual electricity suppliers, which triggers the storage system once the surplus power becomes available.
Mr O’Driscoll said the system had the potential to save consumers significant amounts on their heating bills.
He pointed out that Ireland imported €6 billion worth of fossil fuels every year, and over a third of this was spent on home-heating oil.
Mr O’Driscoll said the Quantum system could reduce the spending on home-heating oil by up to 30 per cent, a total saving of €650 million for consumers.
The system is already being used on a pilot basis in 140 houses in the Dublin suburbs of Cabra and Mulhuddart, in partnership with the clean technology research organisation Greenway. That has indicated that the system could save each home €274 a year.
The company is not looking only at the Irish market and plans to export the new product. It has orders from as far away as Korea and Australia for schemes similar to that operated in Dublin.
Glen Dimplex already has a global presence, with operations across four continents.
Mr O’Driscoll said yesterday that it had committed to investing €5 million in the €70 million seed capital fund that Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Pat Rabbitte this month announced his department intended to establish.
The Minister, who attended yesterday’s launch, said that in order to satisfy EU rules and keep the department’s €35 million contribution off the State’s balance sheet, business would need to contribute more than the State. “But we are pretty much ready to go,” he said.
Power brokered Governments agree electricity deal
The Irish and British governments have concluded the first element of a deal that will pave the way for electricity exports from the Republic to Britain, the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Pat Rabbitte, said yesterday.
According to Mr Rabbitte, the two governments have agreed the terms of a memorandum of understanding that will lead to a full inter-governmental agreement to allow exports of wind-generated electricity from the Republic to Britain.
The Minister said that the memorandum would be signed next month.
Mr Rabbitte has been discussing this proposal with the British government for some time.
Last June, he said he hoped to make progress with a formal agreement within six months.
The deal will allow onshore wind farms and offshore plants in the Republic’s waters to plug directly into Britain’s national grid to sell electricity.
EU treaties allow for such arrangements between member states, that is where power suppliers based in one can connect directly with another’s electricity system, but they first require an inter-governmental agreement.
A number of players – including Mainstream Renewable Energy, led by Airtricity founder Eddie O’Connor; Element Wind Power, which is backed by US-based Hudson Clean Energy; and Oriel Windfarms, whose investors include Martin Naughton of Glen Dimplex – plan to cash in on such an agreement, should it materialise.
The Minister was speaking at the launch of Glen Dimplex’s new storage-heater technology.