SEAI last night announced the winners of its Sustainable Energy Awards at a gala event which saw Mike Pearson of Gurteen College in Tipperary, take away the top prize for Energy Manager of the Year.
The Awards reward excellence in energy management in businesses, communities and public sector organisations.
Pearson impressed judges with his spearheading of an ambitious renewable energy programme at Gurteen College. This includes a wind turbine, solar electricity system and a biomass boiler, all of which are included in the college’s education module for students. The biomass boiler is fuelled from willow grown on site and provides 80% of the colleges heating each year.
Congratulating all participants in this year’s competition, Richard Bruton T.D., Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment said:
“I’d like to congratulate all those who took part in this year’s competition and of course, a particular mention for Mike Pearson for his very impressive submission. The innovative approaches taken by the finalists, demonstrate the expertise Ireland has in this area and will inspire others to follow suit.”
I am very heartened by all the projects put forward for this competition. It is great to see such passion and creativity being directed at what is the most crucial issue of our time – responding to climate change and ensuring that we are turning towards more sustainable energy sources.
Congratulating the finalists and award winners on the night, Jim Gannon, Chief Executive of SEAI, said:
“The SEAI Energy Awards celebrate the absolute best of Ireland’s sustainable energy achievements. They are a vivid demonstration of how Irish business, communities and public organisations are pushing the boundaries in energy efficiency and the switch to clean energy. The 80 plus entrants in this year’s Awards have made energy savings of €38 million and they are responsible for €30m in energy generated from renewables, which is equivalent to powering 166,000 homes.”
As the realities of climate change becoming clearer to us all, it is particularly important to highlight what work is being done by energy leaders across the country. The commitment and dedication of the finalists should be a huge inspiration to us all. With an exceptionally high standard, this year’s finalists deserve our collective congratulations.
We are truly delighted to win this SEAI Energy Award. We have developed a renewable energy programme to reduce the impact of energy usage and improve its efficiency throughout the college grounds. This award acknowledges our efforts to go beyond sustainable energy best practice. Through demonstrating renewable energy technologies, we are preparing young farmers and rural enterprises for the future.
Other winners on the night included MPOWER for its work with the Tallaght Community Living Lab. MPOWER received a €10,000 research bursary for its research project which ultimately aims to develop a model for communities to produce and share electricity at a local level.
The Aran Islands Community Energy Cooperative took home the Community Award with its impressive grassroots approach to efficiency and renewable energy. Open to every island resident, the cooperative has brought about massive changes since its establishment in 2012. Progress is continuing, and over half of the houses and buildings on the three islands have completed energy upgrades since 2012 and half of the buildings on Inis Oírr have now replaced fossil fuels with heat pumps and solar photovoltaic panels. Inis Mór is also taking significant strides with 10 electric vehicles now in use on the island.
The Renewable Award went to EirGrid for its DS3 system. EirGrid is now recognised as being a world leader in the integration of renewable electricity into the national grid. Its DS3 system will increase the level of renewable generation possible on the power system at any given time.
SEAI highlight the strength of other entrants in this new category, who are pushing the boundaries of best practise in renewable energy development. Other winners of the Awards included; Aut Even Hospital, Kilkenny; The Rediscovery Centre, Ballymun; Wyeth Nutrition, Askeaton, Limerick; Lidl Ireland and Northern Ireland GmbH; and Sligo University Hospital.