Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Wednesday, 2 October 2019
Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action
Citizen and Community Measures: Discussion
Mr. Paul Kenny:
There are three independent energy agencies, namely, the City of Dublin Energy Management Agency, CODEMA, the Three Counties Energy Agency, which covers Carlow, Kilkenny and Wexford, and ourselves. There were 16 in total. Some operate currently as an energy manager in local authorities. They were engineers seconded into what is now a company limited by guarantee, CLG, and back into the local authority. The model the climate action plan calls for from the Minister, Deputy Bruton, looks for the local authority to take the role of a local energy agency. That is why the other 13 failed. It is a technical role. It requires many entrepreneurial skills, a good business plan and people who want to deliver. If it is a local authority engineer, it is more challenging. If they have an opportunity to go for, they cannot recruit as it takes them a year. They have a chain of command that limits the functionality.
Local energy agencies started as a European programme. There are 400 of them around Europe. The active ones are all relatively independent but still are governed by local authorities. Our board is made up of the local authority. They need to be on the ground and flexible, as well as being able to deliver for their communities. If there is more demand, they can increase the number of engineers. If there is less demand, they can decrease. One needs to be able to deliver a service.