Naturgy Energy, Ireland’s leading independent supplier of energy to businesses, has today announced its expansion into Northern Ireland in a move which will see the company create up to 20 positions for sector specialists over the next three years.

Targeting the business market, Naturgy will supply natural gas, electricity and renewables to large scale energy users across the industrial and commercial sector.

Vayu will provide businesses in Northern Ireland with a competitive alternative by allowing customers to take advantage of cheaper prices available in the wholesale gas and electricity markets.

With its market leading energy procurement services and experienced team of specialists, the company’s focus is on bringing greater flexibility to Northern Ireland’s energy sector – enabling businesses to make better procurement decisions supported by transparent and straightforward access to wholesale prices.

Valued at over £390 million (€520 million) per annum, the sector offers significant growth potential for Naturgy and is a natural step for the company as it continues to expand across the industrial and commercial (I&C) segment of the market. The I&C segment accounts for 20% of total electricity consumption across Northern Ireland and over 50% of gas consumption in greater Belfast.

Renewable energy is another key focus for Naturgy in Northern Ireland. The company is one of a small number of power suppliers licenced that can provide Power Purchase Agreements in both the Republic and Northern Ireland.

Vayu has grown steadily since 2003, when it became the first independent supplier to be awarded a gas shipping and supply license in the Republic of Ireland. It has gained a reputation for excellence within the industry, supplying customers in a variety of sectors, including pharmaceutical, manufacturing, food and beverage, technology and retail.

The company now supplies 20% of the Republic of Ireland’s largest natural gas business customers and 15% of the mid-sized gas user segment.

In 2007, Naturgy launched its electricity supply business and has seen its market share in the Republic increase each year. It is now a leading supplier of 100% green electricity to businesses. The company’s energy customers include companies such as Tesco, C&C Group, Debenhams, Dublin Port Company and Aer Lingus.

Having shaken up the gas market in the Republic of Ireland, Barry Murphy, Business Development Manager at Naturgy Energy says the company is focused on becoming a leading provider of gas and energy procurement solutions to businesses across Northern Ireland.

“We believe there remains a large untapped opportunity to deliver new services to the energy market in Northern Ireland,” says Mr Murphy. “Vayu will be investing heavily in winning customers by changing the way businesses view their energy-related decisions and empowering customers to become more active in the area of energy procurement and demand management.”

“We have established a business model that has worked exceptionally well, creating flexibility for gas and electricity users that wasn’t there previously,” says Mr Murphy.

Peter Girvan, energy specialist at Naturgy Energy, said: “We see a clear opportunity for businesses in Northern Ireland to gain access to much more competitive prices on the wholesale markets. In particular, we’re seeing significant demand for procurement solutions that combine innovations in risk management with hands on market analysis to minimise energy costs.”

Mr Girvan noted that, as a supplier of 100% green electricity, Naturgy believes that renewables will play a significant role in electricity production in Northern Ireland over the decades to come. He states that, while Northern Ireland has an abundant supply of renewable energy resources, only a fraction of these have been harnessed to date so there is enormous potential for development.