ESB helping large energy users decarbonise with €75m fund
ESB's Smart Energy Services delivering big gains to enterprises with new energy-saving initiative
BWG Foods is a customer of ESB’s Smart Energy Services business unit, which has delivered projects for more than 300 large businesses across Ireland and the UK.
Saving money, saving energy and saving carbon emissions are the hat-trick of goals on offer from ESB’s Smart Energy Services’ new funding initiative.
Through its €75 million energy fund, ESB is helping large-scale organisations reduce their carbon footprint and make significant energy cost savings, without requiring them to contribute any up-front capital.
“Energy is one of the most significant costs faced by business and even small savings can yield healthy bottom-line benefits,” says Ciarán Gallagher, head of ESB's Smart Energy Services.
“With energy savings of up to 60 per cent achievable and no up-front capital costs, this is an opportune time for businesses to go green with the help of ESB expertise and funding. The programme is balance sheet-neutral and we produce an initial analysis of energy-saving potential at no cost to the client. There has never been a better time to plan for a low-carbon future.”
The €75 million energy fund is open to large businesses with an overall energy bill of more than €200,000 per year and can be used to finance large-scale energy projects, such as battery storage, that will help reduce the carbon footprint of large energy users.
It is estimated these projects, based on a mix of technologies, are equivalent to taking two million tonnes of CO2 out of the atmosphere over the next 15 years.
This is also equivalent to taking 63,000 cars off the road permanently, planting 11 million trees or cancelling out the emissions of about 35,000 family homes (the residential use of a city such as Limerick or Galway) in the same time frame.
All represent significant gains for businesses looking to save energy and reduce carbon.
Large companies, big gains
This funding announcement is the latest initiative from ESB’s Smart Energy Services business unit, which has already delivered energy saving projects for more than 300 large businesses across Ireland and the UK. Its clients include household names such as Tesco, Medite, ABP and the Dublin Airport Authority.
Providing such support to business customers is a key element of ESB’s strategy in leading the transition to a low-carbon future.
Projects can vary including cooling and heating, lighting, battery storage, rooftop solar, heat pumps, CHP (combined heat and power) systems or electric vehicle charging. Revenue savings are shared and once the initial capital expenditure cost – borne by ESB – is repaid, the business enjoys 100 per cent of the savings.
For example, ESB partnered with Ardagh Group, a leading supplier of metal and glass packaging solutions, to deliver a world-class battery energy storage system that enables it to optimise power usage at its glass production facility in Irvine, Scotland, and to provide additional revenue streams through frequency and demand response services.
“The battery energy storage system delivers a cost-efficient and reliable solution capable of supporting our plant’s resilience to power quality fluctuations and, in addition, provides ancillary services to the grid,” says Graeme Shepherd, director of operations at Irvine glass plant.
When leading grocery wholesale and retail group BWG Foods needed a partner to manage a lighting retrofit project across its business – including its state-of-the-art 240,000sq ft national distribution centre, nationwide cash and carry network, corporate headquarters and a number of retail partner stores – working with ESB's Smart Energy Services resulted in significant reductions in energy use of up to 6.7GWh, which equates to a total reduction of 4,770 tonnes of CO2.
ESB’s Smart Energy Services team is working with UK company Low Carbon Farming to design, install and manage the energy centres for the UK’s largest and most sustainable agricultural greenhouse sites in Norfolk and Suffolk.
Tesco is another large company working with ESB’s Smart Energy Services. “The measures undertaken as part of this partnership in energy management, including lighting upgrades across stores, mean that we’ve seen significant reductions in our electricity demand, reducing our overall energy consumption by 24 per cent in the last five years,” says Geoff Byrne, chief operating officer at Tesco Ireland.
We are pleased to support the Government’s Climate Action Plan and to further deliver on our aim to become a zero-carbon retailer by 2050
“Another aspect of our partnership with ESB’s Smart Energy Services is that we are continuing to roll out our electric vehicle charging points at 52 store locations across the country, providing customers with convenience-based charging while they shop. With these initiatives, we are pleased to support the Government’s Climate Action Plan and to further deliver on our aim to become a zero-carbon retailer by 2050,” he says.
For large-scale organisations, ESB providing the up-front capital expenditure for such major energy saving projects is significant, especially during these challenging economic times, thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic and Brexit.
What makes the offer even more compelling is that, because of ESB’s commitment to driving down the carbon footprint of its clients, it allows for a longer pay-back time than is the industry norm, significantly alleviating the impact on cash flow. This also frees up client companies’ budget for business development, innovation, research and development, marketing and other growth-fuelling activities.
A third of consumers now make purchase decisions based on their environmental and social impact
The initiative brings numerous ancillary benefits too, allowing organisations to reduce their carbon footprint, protecting the environment and helping companies to meet both their own internal corporate social responsibility targets, as well as those mandated by regulation.
Undertaking a major energy-saving project can also help power customer sentiment. Research suggests a third of consumers now make purchase decisions based on their environmental and social impact, and more than half report a willingness to spend more on sustainable brands.
For many businesses, the “downtime” caused by the pandemic provides a good time to undertake a major decarbonisation project and help kick-start the “green recovery”.
After all, energy savings don’t just go straight to the bottom line, they go straight to the “triple bottom line” of social, environmental and financial sustainability.
To cut your energy bills and reduce your carbon footprint, find out about ESB’s new €75 million fund at esb.ie/smartenergy