In response to Minister for Energy Alex White’s announcement today 10 March “Major Increase in Grants to Householders for Energy Efficiency”
The Irish BioEnergy Association (IrBEA) notes the Minister has announced increases to energy efficiency grants for householders, effective immediately. IrBEA broadly welcomes this measure, but we do not support the decision to continue to grant aid oil and gas boilers while not grant aiding boilers that run on renewable biomass fuels.
Ireland will fail to meet its EU 2020 renewable energy target of 16% and it is estimated that Ireland could face EU fines in the region of €0.5 billion per year from 2020 based on the current rate of renewable energy adoption.
It makes no environmental or economic sense for the Government to continue to grant aid gas and oil (fossil fuel) boilers. Boilers running on renewable fuels such as wood pellets, woodchip and firewood should instead be grant aided thereby reducing Irelands reliance on fossil fuel imports, reducing our greenhouse gas emissions and improving domestic fuel security. These are key pillars for developing a new green economy which improve competiveness and supports local jobs in the supply chain.
Todays announcement sends contradictory policy signals by claiming in the press release, “For the country as a whole, [these efficiency improvements] replace our dependence on imported fossil fuels”, while then giving grant aid to fossil fuel use.
We call on the Minister to take this opportunity to provide a renewable grant aid option for homeowners seeking to replace their existing fossil fuel boilers with a renewable fuel heating alternative. Without this option, homeowners are further locked into a long term reliance on fossil fuel to heat their homes.
Noel Gavigan – IrBEA Executive