Grants for heat pumps and biomass boilers withdrawn
The government is withdrawing grant support for heat pumps and biomass boilers and reducing grants for other energy efficiency upgrades as part of its new Better Energy national building upgrade programme. The government has allocated an additional €30m to the programme this year in addition to the €60m set aside in this year's budget. It expects the extra funding to support an additional 2,000 jobs in the retrofit sector in 2011.
SEAi's Brian Motherway (left), energy minister Pat Rabitte (centre) and the Department of Energy's Stjohn O'Connor launch the government's Better Energy upgrade programme.
The government is withdrawing grant support for heat pumps and biomass boilers and reducing grants for other energy efficiency upgrades as part of its new Better Energy national building upgrade programme.
The government has allocated an additional €30m to the programme this year in addition to the €60m set aside in this year's budget. It expects the extra funding to support an additional 2,000 jobs in the retrofit sector in 2011.
Better Energy will replace the Home Energy Saving Scheme, the Warmer Homes Scheme and the Greener Homes Scheme. The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) said these schemes supported 5,800 jobs in 2011.
The full list of grants available is as follows: €200 for attic insulation, €320 for cavity wall insulation, €4,000 for external wall insulation, €2,000 for internal dry lining, €560 for high efficiency oil and gas boilers, €400 for heating control upgrades, €800 for solar thermal and €80 for building energy ratings.
The grant for external wall insulation is the only one not to be reduced. The grants for attic, cavity wall and internal insulation have been reduced by €50, €80 and €500 respectively. Grants for boilers, heating controls and BERs have been lowered by €140, €100 and €20 respectively.
Despite the reductions, the government is committing an additional €30m funding for 2011 compared to the €60m promised by the previous government. This still represents an overall funding reduction compared to 2010, and some of this year's allocation will go towards grants awarded last year that have yet to be paid out.
The government said Better Energy marks "the start of the process of moving to new financial models such as pay as you save". It said the programme will be the main vehicle to bridge the gap of approximately 8,000GWh, identified under Ireland’s National Energy Efficiency Action Plan, in the achievement of the national 20% energy saving target between now and 2020.
“Better Energy is a major step forward in this government’s retrofitting programme," Energy minister Pat Rabbitte said. "Given energy price trends and growing concerns over security of supply, the way we use energy is no longer simply a question of environmental responsibility but one of economic necessity. Every euro spent by homeowners and businesses on energy efficiency, not only brings about long term energy savings, but also helps support jobs and indigenous companies.”
SEAI will relaunch the grants section of its website next Monday, 16 May. The website will aim to serve as a one stop shop, where homeowners will be able to enter information on their dwelling and the type of upgrade they're looking for, and see the variety of retrofit options and supports available, including those offered by energy utilities.
SEAI's Brian Motherway told Construct Ireland the organisation still intends to move away from the current model of grants to one where subsidies are given up front as a discount on retrofit products and services. He added that Bord Gais is currently trialling this model.
Pat Rabbitte headshot: Labour Party