03 Sep 2021 | 09.00 am
Energia Places Responsible Business At Centre Of Strategy
Focus on climate, communities, customers and colleagues
03 Sep 2021 | 09.00 am
Energia Group has published a comprehensive new report that describes many of the initiatives the Group is undertaking to operate as a responsible business, to improve the lives of colleagues, customers and communities, and to act to mitigate the impacts of the ongoing climate crisis.
Energia Group’s Responsible Business Report will be published annually and the report will form part of a wider Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) initiative being undertaken by the Group. This year’s report (2020/21) contains information, statistics and performance indicators across a wide range of programmes being undertaken by the Group throughout its organisation and across its business and operations.
Energia Group Chief Executive Ian Thom commented: “Behaving responsibly is core to our values as people and as a business, where Energia Group’s organisation is built on key pillars of trust, dynamism, resourcefulness and community focus. Our sector finds itself at the epicentre of the climate crisis where the biggest challenge of our times demands an enthusiastic response. Accordingly, as a business, we have maintained and enhanced our commitment to tackling climate change and to playing a leading role in energy transition on the island of Ireland.
“At both a local and international level, ambitious but necessary targets have been set for 2030 and beyond, and through our Positive Energy programme we have the ambition to invest up to €3bn to facilitate the achievement of these targets.”
The report highlights an extensive range of programmes and initiatives including:
• Climate Action – Energia Group generated c.6TWh (Terawatt Hours – trillions of watt hours) of electricity in the past year, over 50% of which was from renewable sources. The Group owns and operates 15 wind farms across the island and has a portfolio of over 1,200MW of renewable electricity capacity under contract. Through the Group’s electricity generation and supply activities, 97% of the carbon emissions from its efficient gas-fired generators in Huntstown were offset in 2020/21.
As well as the ongoing activities, the Group plans to deliver a further 1.5GW of additional renewable capacity over the next decade through its €3bn Positive Energy investment programme. Significant progress has already been made on number of offshore wind, onshore wind and solar projects, all of which will to help realise the renewable energy targets that have been set for 2030 and beyond.
• Community – Community Benefit Schemes relating to Energia’s wind farms contributed €600,000 across 92 community groups assisted in 2020/21, benefiting 57,000 people. Programmes and initiatives include student bursaries, digital skills development and awards for teachers.
The Group also sponsored Seachtain na Gaeilge, with funding disbursed across 113 communities; Christmas Foodbanks providing over 10,000 meals; the Get Ireland Growing initiative with 1,000 participants; and the More Powerful Together campaign providing over €40,000 to local digital and community initiatives in Northern Ireland, as well as 33 community projects in the Power NI Brighter Communities and Helping Hands programmes. Energia is the energy supply partner to the IRFU and Leinster Rugby, and also sponsors the Energia All Ireland League and Wexford Youths Women’s FC.
• Customers – In early 2021, Energia Group passed the 820,000 customer mark, supplying homes and businesses with 7.3TWh of electricity. The Group supplies 100% green electricity in Ireland (through Energia) and offers a 100% green product to customers in Northern Ireland (through Power NI). The Group also entered into Electric Vehicle Home Charging Infrastructure partnerships with Opel and Hyundai dealerships.
Energia Group is also supporting customers on their sustainability energy journey through the provision of energy services including smart metering, intelligent energy management systems, in-home devices, apps and energy efficiency services and systems. The Group provided €3.4m in funding to customers’ energy efficiency projects – 55 business and 5,611 residential – saving customers over 15,000 tCO2 and €4.5m.
• Colleagues – At the end of the year, Energia Group employed 916 people at offices across Ireland and Northern Ireland (up by 68 on 2019/20). The Group strives to provide a positive, caring and rewarding work environment at all times, and through ongoing work on diversity and inclusion had achieved a gender breakdown of 44% female and 56% male.
The Group moved to remote working throughout the pandemic and has acknowledged the commitment and dedication of all staff in making this work successfully. Incorporating changes for this new environment, over 60% of all staff undertook learning and development, while 70% took part in wellbeing initiatives during the past year. A company-wide survey of staff found 96% were confident the Group was managing the impacts of Covid-19 effectively.
“As with the pandemic, this decade will require unprecedented change in how we go about our lives. Energia Group has always embraced change and we will relish the changes ahead while remaining committed to our customers and the communities in which we operate,” said Ian Thom.
As well as the Group’s own activities, the report outlines the extensive range of research partnerships and industry collaborations related to the energy transition and decarbonisation. The report also provides a summary of important accreditations achieved by the Group last year, including the Business Working Responsibly Mark (Business in the Community Ireland), the International Asset Management Standard (ISO 55001:2014) and the achievement of the Bronze Diversity Charter Mark NI.
The Group also won a wide range of awards during the year for programmes encompassing sustainability, innovation in energy supply, customer service, sponsorships and community engagement.
Photo: Ian Thom (right) at a Christmas Foodbank (Pic: Matt Mackey)