Our CEO, Jim Gannon, speaks about SEAI’s achievements in 2017 and plans for 2018. Watch the video or read his speech below.
Sustainable energy investment in 2017
2017 was a landmark year for sustainable energy investment in Ireland. The funding secured by Minister Denis Naughten and his department, that allowed SEAI to deliver over €105 million of investment, was unprecedented in the history of the State.
This involved a number of new activities, particularly in the SME sector, where we put together two new schemes; one directed at agriculture and one directed at traditional commercial enterprises. And secondly, in deep retrofit where we really tried to engage the homeowner to see how we can help them bring their home to the level it needs to be at to help us reach our 2050 ambitions.
Working with communities
We also worked far more with communities than ever before – increasing our capital grant funding and also doubling the size of our Sustainable Energy Community network. Through this network we provide mentors and the support for people within the community to develop their own energy master plan so they can determine how they themselves want to reach a lower carbon future.
New behavioural economics unit
We also engaged for the first time our behavioural economics unit. We’re researching how we bring people towards better choices and to inform them better of what those choices might mean for them.
Public sector engagement
We also engaged with the public sector far more directly than before as we entered into collaborations with the department for education and skills and also with the OPW to work with core state buildings and also with schools in 2017. But at the heart of SEAI is the policy analysis piece, where we support the departments through our statistical analysis, through our policy analysis and through our modelling of what 2030, 2040 and 2050 will look like.
Research, development and innovation
Important for us though, is remaining at the cutting edge. We have expanded our Research, Development and Innovation funding and we have also worked far more with the private sector alongside our work with the academic sector, to collaborate more both nationally and internationally.
Looking forward to 2018
In terms of 2018, it’s again a very exciting year for us. The Department and Minister Denis Naughten have secured another increase in our funding to look at new and further developments of our schemes. We’re going to make incremental changes to all of our capital programmes across both the customer experience, making it easier for people to make the right choice and deliver the right choice and separately looking at improved technologies and better technologies to help people use less and use cleaner energy.
We’re going to start looking at output and impact from our behavioural economics unit for the first time, which we’re all looking forward to. And separately, we’re going to look closely at the business of sustainable energy; our Energy Show every year has reports back from the exhibitors that they have executed over €80 million worth of deals at that point in time over those two days. But also, beyond that core piece, we want to look far more at new market entrants, both in terms of large scale renewable electricity and separately at the micro-scale, where we’re looking at electric vehicles, distributed generation and smart-grids and really empowering that person in their home and in their business to make the right choice.
So if I was to challenge you, it’s to inform yourself in 2018 of the options that are open to you, the help that we can give you and the advice and capital grants that are available.