Energy upgrade programmes escape budget cuts

Minister Eamon Ryan
Government subsidies for energy efficiency and renewable energy have come through Budget 2011 unscathed in spite of swinging cuts across the economy.

Energy minister Eamon Ryan TD has announced a budget of €99m for energy upgrading Irish buildings in 2011 as the government ramps up for the launch of the National Energy Retrofit Programme (NERP).
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Government subsidies for energy efficiency and renewable energy have come through Budget 2011 unscathed in spite of swingeing cuts across the economy. Energy minister Eamon Ryan TD has announced a budget of €99m for energy upgrading Irish buildings in 2011 as the government ramps up for the launch of the National Energy Retrofit Programme (NERP).

"I'm pleased to have secured this money for retrofit," minister Ryan told Construct Ireland. "We aim to upgrade one million homes over the next decade. Retrofitting your house is the single smartest investment you can make."

Since 2007, the government has supported the energy efficiency upgrades of over 110,000 homes creating over 5,000 full time jobs. Set to be announced in January 2011, the NERP has set a target of upgrading one million buildings over the next decade. The programme is being designed to achieve an 8000GWh in Ireland's energy consumption by 2020 through a combination of utility obligations such as Pay as You Save and refined versions of the SEAI's existing programmes. A spokesperson for the minister said that this scheme in tandem with the new tax credits of €30 million for energy efficiency upgrades will create another 5,000 jobs.

For work carried out under the NERP, home owners can claim a tax credit at the standard rate of 20% on works of up to €10,000. The maximum value of the credit is set at €2,000 to the home owner and this can be used to reduce their income tax bill over a number of years. Total relief granted is up to €30 million in one year. A spokesperson for the minister said that further details will be announced shortly.
 
Renewable energy
€13 million to implement the ocean energy strategy will enable Ireland to unlock the power of the sea and be the first in the world with a commercially viable ocean energy device.

Business expansion scheme for green energy
The amendments to the Business Expansion Scheme will help developers and promoters of green energy projects. By increasing the amount of equity which can be raised from €2m per company to €10m and by widening the scope of what is a qualifying activity, it will act as a stimulus to activities in the wind, ocean & solar energy, geothermal and biomass sectors. This measure will help establish Ireland as a centre for green financing.

Grants for electric vehicles
From 1 January, grants of up to €5000 per vehicle will be available for the purchase of electric and hybrid vehicles.

Minister Ryan said: “While necessary savings must be made, I am pleased that we have been in a position to secure funding in the important areas of energy and communications.

"Next year we will announce and deliver a new national retrofit scheme, deliver a new national postcodes system for the country, implement the ocean energy strategy, provide grant assistance for electric cars, roll out the digital schools programme, announce a new rural broadband scheme and prepare for digital television. This is an ambitious programme of delivery, building on our work over the previous 3 years.

We are delivering the smart green economy which is providing the next generation of jobs for our people.”
Last modified on Wednesday, 08 December 2010 01:11

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