AIB and Dundalk Chamber of Commerce hosted an energy seminar for SMEs in the Louth area who want to drive down their energy costs and increase their competitiveness. Over 150 SMEs attended the seminar which was held at the Bellinghamcastle Hotel and speakers included AIB’s Head of Energy and Clean Technologies, Ray O’Neill and on behalf of SEAI, Declan Meally.
The theme was helping businesses to reduce their energy costs and improve profitability. AIB research shows that energy accounts for approximately 9 per cent of operating costs, averaging nearly €70,000 for the typical SME. To support SMEs invest in energy saving measures such as heating, lighting, cooling systems, etc., AIB recently launched a €100 million fund for lending to allow SMEs to radically lower their energy bills. This fund is unique in that the bank will take into account the projected savings from energy efficiency projects when calculating the borrower’s repayment capacity. Qualifying SMEs can also avail of discounted funding supported by the European Investment Bank (EIB).
“The opportunity for Irish SMEs to reduce energy costs is enormous,” AIBs head of Energy and Clean Technologies said.
“With our new Energy Efficiency Finance we want to help SMEs keep cash in their business and cut costs. Locally trading and export focused companies can increase their competitiveness by tackling energy costs head on. Reducing fundamental consumption in a sustainable way is achievable.”
The Head of North East Business Centre, Mr Kenneth Rooney said they want to help customers in every way possible and assisting them invest in energy efficient initiatives is key to drive down costs and remain competitive in what remains a challenging trading environment.
“Every SME can benefit from reviewing their energy consumption and using available supports such as the SEAI,” Mr Rooney said.
“I would encourage SMEs to call into any branch, to talk to our expert staff about financing projects that will get them the savings on their bills.”
President of the Dundalk Chamber, Paddy Matthews said the chamber was delighted to host this event for our members as this is an area where SMEs can take small practical steps and make real savings. We welcome AIB’s announcement of €100 million fund and look forward to working with all our members in this regard.”
On behalf of SEAI, Declan Meally said:
“I would urge all businesses to examine their energy outgoings in their businesses. We have found that most businesses can make 11% savings in their energy usage without spending a lot of money. The rewards are substantial and SEAI is there to assist every step of the way. New finance offerings, like those being launched today, make it even easier to act and are a welcome addition to the market.”
this was the first main business seminar to be held at the newly refurbished Bellingham Castle.