Choices to be made but 7% reduction in CO2 emissions target possible, says LIT Development Unit manager

Noel Dundon

Reporter:

Noel Dundon

Email:

nd@tipperarylive.ie

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Wind energy is playing a major role in the reduction of CO2 emissions in Tipperary

LIT’s Development Unit is responding to gaps in the sector by collaborating on six sustainable energy projects with partners across Europe that are worth over €1.1 million to the institution.

A leading expert in energy management at Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT) says that a 7% reduction in C02 emissions per year is possible is Ireland, but will require difficult choices to be made by the next Government.

Head of Development & Public Engagement at LIT, Seamus Hoyne, was commenting as EU Sustainable Energy Week continues across Europe. The awareness campaign, running until June 26th, is taking place under the theme of ‘beyond the crisis: clean energy for green recovery and growth’.

LIT’s Development Unit is responding to gaps in the sector by collaborating on six sustainable energy projects with partners across Europe that are worth over €1.1 million to the institution.

A recently published report on the Superhomes 2.0 project – worked on by LIT Development Unit researchers – suggests that certain cost-effective energy retrofit measures could save over 4 million tonnes of C02 emissions per year, with corresponding health and environmental benefits estimated at €100m per annum.

Head of Development & Public Engagement at LIT, Seamus Hoyne, said: “Reducing our emissions has to be part of an overall shift towards sustainability. This year’s theme for EU Sustainable Energy Week, looking at clean energy as part of a wider green recovery, is key, as choices have to be made in terms of where funding is directed. Investment in retrofitting, heat pumps, biogas and other sustainable measures need to be scaled up quickly. We must reduce the demand for energy and increase efficiencies and we must have sustainable alternatives in place to protect our economy and our current quality of life. Our offshore wind resources, along with scaling up public transport and increased utilise of electric vehicles, will all play a part in reaching the emissions targets that have been discussed at Government level.”

“LIT’s Development Unit has been identifying gaps and niches in the sustainable energy sector, particularly in the areas of upskilling and training and optimising Zero Energy Buildings for a number of years. Having worked with institutions across Europe in that time, we know that these ambitious emissions targets can be achieved at policy level, but there will need to be choices made on where public investment is focused.”

Mr Hoyne, who has over 25 years’ experience managing in the energy sector, is also currently leading the €700,000 ManagEnergy project, funded by the Horizon 2020 Framework of the EU, which aims to incentivise sustainable energy investments in regions and cities across Ireland and the rest of Europe.

“Through the ManagEnergy project we have worked with partners to enable Energy Agencies across Europe to stimulate €660m of investments in sustainable energy. We have seen the success of incentives and supports including subsidies, tax and other financial measures, to support businesses, industry and individuals to reduce their energy costs and transition away from fossil fuels. The global reaction to this COVID-19 crisis has shown that society can react and innovate rapidly – some of these lessons can be applied to the climate crisis also,” Mr Hoyne concluded.