Economy Minister Gordon Lyons has welcomed the support that the Covid-19 Energy Efficiency Capital Grant (EECG) has offered to 94 local businesses, helping them become more resilient through green efficiency.
The scheme was developed by Invest Northern Ireland to provide businesses with support for the installation of energy efficient equipment, such as LED lighting systems, heating and cooling equipment, process insulation, and replacement drives and motors.
The scheme received over £1.5 million of funding, including an allocation from the Department for Economy’s Economic Recovery Action Plan.
Speaking during a visit to Craigavon-based Simplyfruit, one of the 94 businesses that received an offer of support through EECG, the Minister said: “Sustainable business practices offer a substantial economic opportunity as we grow Northern Ireland’s green economy.
“My department’s 10X Economic Vision focuses on growing this sector in response to climate change, and helping to build a better environment for the people of Northern Ireland.
“As part of this, many businesses have used the Energy Efficiency Capital Grant to improve their energy efficiency, increase productivity and achieve significant environmental benefits, including carbon reduction.”
Simplyfruit is a producer and distributor of fresh fruit snack products.
The business uses significant amounts of energy to refrigerate and store product and in generating compressed air for packing the products.
The Minister continued: “It is great to be in Craigavon today to see first-hand how the Energy Efficiency Capital Grant has positively impacted businesses, including Simplyfruit.
“This financial support has enabled the company to reduce its carbon emissions by over 50 tonnes, as well as make significant energy savings.
“I am pleased that my department could provide funding to enable businesses to capitalise on green energy opportunities such as this.”
Invest NI offered Simplyfruit an EECG grant towards the cost of new machinery to improve energy efficiencies.
Connor McCann, Operations Director, Simplyfruit, said: “Invest NI’s Energy Efficiency Capital grant has helped us to identify opportunities to improve energy efficiency and reduce costs.
“We have been able to purchase a new system to help us better monitor and control our energy outputs, and install equipment to recover and reuse waste heat from our refrigeration plant.
“This has led us in the past year to save over £16,000 and over 200,000kWh in energy savings, along with our carbon emission savings.”
Dr Vicky Kell, Director of Innovation, Research and Development at Invest NI, said: “We recognise the increasing significance of the green economy as a key driver of our economy and are pleased to support Northern Ireland businesses to progress towards net zero.
“We developed this scheme to help businesses achieve greater energy efficiency so that they can be more resilient, and deliver long-term cost and carbon savings in their day-to-day operations.
“It’s now great to start seeing the results of how the scheme is positively impacting businesses across Northern Ireland.”
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