DUBLIN, Ireland, June 20 (UPI) -- Investing in renewable energy projects in Ireland translates into an investment in its economic future, Irish Energy Minister Pat Rabbitte said.
Rabbitte unveiled plans to invest $73.6 million in energy efficiency measures that he said would result in eventual annual savings of $9.3 million in energy bills while creating 500 new jobs for the Irish economy.
The projects would be financed through a National Energy Efficiency Fund announced in February. Projects covered under Rabbitte's plans include upgrades to public lighting, improvements in energy efficiency strategies for the food industry and a plan to peg payments for general energy upgrades to performance measures in the energy sector.
Ireland is working to overhaul its energy sector through offshore oil and natural gas development. Rabbitte said Wednesday the latest initiative was part of a regional trend to complement conventional energy strategies with greener energy policies.
"[The Irish] government has set an ambitious target: to transform Ireland into one of the most energy efficient economies in Europe by 2020," he said in a statement. "Today's swathe of exemplar projects encourages me that we are on the right track."