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Action Over Ambition...Building for Green Change in Ireland

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By Chamber Press Office, 14 April 2023

The importance of acting on the climate emergency is something SSE is playing a leading role in, driving net zero across Ireland and the UK. As the largest generator and supplier of renewable energy to households and businesses across the island of Ireland, SSE has placed itself at the forefront of this challenge, with a pioneering approach to green energy and a net zero carbon future, and now is a crucial time to be in this industry. In setting ambition to support action against climate change, the strength of SSE’s business mix enhances the role it has to play in the future of Ireland’s energy system. While getting on with what’s needed to provide green energy and energy solutions today, we’re also thinking about tomorrow and beyond, working with stakeholders to shape and influence the direction Ireland takes in meeting the challenge of climate change. It is well noted that SSE has the potential resources to be a key exporter of renewable energy, ultimately supporting a wider European shift to green.

As the leading developer and operator of low-carbon electricity in the UK and Ireland – SSE aims to help build a world that’s cleaner, greener, and fairer for all. SSE believes that working with key partners and stakeholders is crucial to finding solutions for customers, because it is important that everybody is brought on the journey to net zero. That is why, as a result of the energy crisis and pressures facing households, SSE Airtricity became the first energy supplier to announce that it would forego profits this year in favour of supporting customers. In addition to giving profits back to customers, SSE Airtricity introduced increased supports for customers throughout last year, up to the value of €25 million.

The case for change, and the pace at which the world needs to react to climate change has never been more prominent – at what is inarguably a difficult time for households and businesses.

Klair Neenan, Director of SSE Airtricity explains how the energy sector is leading the charge on the energy transition, championing clean energy by building and delivering a greener future for us all.

“There is so much scope to explore innovative ways to build the infrastructure that society needs to adapt and respond to climate change. The COVID-19 pandemic, rising energy and living costs, and the threats to energy supply caused by international turmoil have presented challenges for all of us. But Ireland needs to radically increase homegrown renewable generation which will benefit consumers by increasing stability of security and reduce reliance on fossil fuel imports – protecting families and businesses from the volatility in prices seen in the last two years. Accessibility to the process of becoming sustainable is something we need to be thinking about all the time. This industry needs people of all talents and skills and SSE is taking the lead in finding solutions for customers.”

SSE offers home energy upgrades under three different programs; Warmer Homes, One Stop Shop and Local Authority retrofit programs. Working with SEAI, Local Authorities and other housing bodies on joint initiatives, these upgrades typically include external wall insulation, energy efficient windows and doors, heat pumps, solar PV and battery systems, and electric vehicle (EV) charging points. In 2022, SSE Airtricity Energy Services partnered with two Local Authorities, to help deliver their Energy Efficiency Retrofit Program (EERP) to retrofit and upgrade more than 130 homes in local communities. It is SSE’s intention to work with more Local Authorities across the country, in supporting the retrofit of up to 45,000 homes in Ireland over the next ten years.

Klair explains further; “The importance of the national retrofit program lies in the fact that it has a positive, real and tangible impact on people, families, their homes and quality of life.  The announcement in April by Irish Government to abolish VAT rates on solar installations will make retrofit programs even more accessible.”

Another key component of change is supportive legislation, says Klair. “The recent directive from the EU, taking action to reduce emissions from cars and ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2035, is exactly the kind of political forward thinking we need to support our ambition. Industry and businesses throughout Ireland can and should be leaders here, propelling innovation. The societal shift to EVs will see greater demand on Ireland’s energy grid, which is why SSE is calling for action over ambition in increasing Ireland’s renewable energy generation.”

SSE has ambitious plans for offshore wind and is investing up to €2.5 billion to develop phase two of Arklow Bank Wind Park to its full potential. When completed, the project will be capable of powering around 850,000 homes each year and will have a transformative impact on the energy market.

This investment will help tackle energy prices for homes and businesses around Ireland and play a significant part in meeting the targets set out in the Climate Action Plan.

SSE is a values-led business and will continue to champion green energy and green energy solutions, while supporting customers on the net zero journey. SSE welcomes this opportunity to connect with businesses in Dublin through the Dublin Chamber and share in their commitment to positively impact the communities in which we operate.

 

 

 

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