The Republic of Ireland government is to launch a €130 million fund for energy efficiency and domestic renewables in a bid to combat fuel poverty in the country.
RoI minister for energy Alex White announced the plans at the Energy Action Annual Fuel Poverty Conference in Dublin earlier this week, confirming that the new fund would take the Irish Republic’s financial commitment to energy efficiency up to €440 million over the coming years.
Measures to be supported under the new finance will include a renewable heat incentive, incentives for electric vehicles and measures to boost the uptake of retrofit energy efficiency measures, such as smart meters and insulation, in the country’s private rented sector.
The support programme will fall under Ireland’s new affordable energy strategy, which is due to be released before the end of this year.
“Our intention is to leverage the experience of trusted health professionals to reach people who may be unaware of opportunities like the Warmer Homes Scheme, which could make a big difference to their health and their wealth,” White said.
White added that 300,000 households had benefitted from government-backed energy efficiency measures to date, which was helping the Republic of Ireland’s carbon reduction commitments.
“Improving the energy efficiency of our homes is also the single most effective way to alleviate energy poverty. Evidence from Saint Vincent de Pauls – and, indeed from the Warmer Homes Scheme, which has so far upgraded some 120,000 homes – demonstrates that you can halve a household’s fuel bills by reducing the amount of energy we waste,” White added.
The Republic’s uptake of renewables, particularly domestic, has been lacklustre in comparison to the UK due to the absence of a feed-in tariff. Instead, renewable energy installations receive support through Renewables Obligation certificates, however these offer minimal support in comparison to the UK equivalent.
This could be about to change however with Ireland widely expected to publish the findings of consultations surrounding last year’s energy policy green paper, which sought to gather feedback on potential incentives for renewables including a possible feed-in tariff.