Survey says companies would consume less energy and save money by going electric.
IBEC (the Irish Business and Employers Confederation) conducted the survey with the support of Sustainable Energy Ireland and found that one fifth of companies in the manufacturing industry could cut their energy consumption by two thirds if they changed their machines from hydraulic to electric.
The Tech Group, a manufacturer of precision plastics components whose plant in Damastown, Dublin 15, is an example of just this. The US company made the decision to switch over to electric, and have seen the benefits, not least in lower energy bills.
At present the industry has two thousand hydraulic presses nationwide, says David Moffitt, chairman of Plastics Ireland,
If all of those machines...were converted into all-electric machines, Ireland would save eight per cent of its commitment to the Kyoto Agreement.
A switchover to electric manufacturing would protect jobs in Ireland and the Irish government will not have to pay fines in millions of euro as a result of not meeting Kyoto targets.
However these benefits will be lost if the government does not act immediately, warns Gerry Farrell from IBEC, who says that those in power must,
Incentivise industry to invest in this technology by the introduction of schemes such as tax concessions and zero-interest loans.
This has been echoed by the renewable energy and the green energy sectors, who have made it clear that government needs to support such a strategy because if they do not the Kyoto targets will be very difficult to achieve.
An RTÉ News report broadcast on 11 July 2005. The reporter is Paul Cunningham.