Minister for Energy, Alex White, announced new plans to help reduce fuel poverty in Ireland with €130m in new funding as part of the Government’s Capital Investment Plan. This funding is in addition to the €310m already allocated for energy efficiency and renewable energy programmes. The new funding will specifically target those experiencing or at risk of fuel poverty across the state.
Speaking at Energy Action’s Fuel Poverty Conference, Minister White addressed a number of key points that will be included in the new Affordable Energy Strategy, to be published before the end of the year:
- The Affordable Energy Strategy, as part of the Capital Investment Plan, will include retrofitting initiatives for those in the private rental sector
- The plan will target those with health conditions that could be affected by unhealthy/cold homes
- Health care professionals will be trained on programmes and schemes available to those they provide care – such as the Warmer Homes Scheme
Minister White also expressed the need for wholesale utilities to pass rate decreases on to consumers as quickly as possible. The Affordable Energy Strategy will go into further detail when it is published before the end of 2015.
Key Facts and Numbers – Energy Efficiency
- Government-funded programmes have assisted in upgrading over 300,000 households across the State
- The Warmer Homes Scheme has upgraded over 120,000 energy poor homes to date, and continues to do so
- Better Energy Programmes account for more than 2,300 construction jobs per annum
- Ireland spends over €6B per annum on fossil fuel imports. Energy efficient buildings will help to reduce this amount and associated greenhouse gas emissions
While addressing fuel poverty and energy efficient buildings is extremely important, the Capital Investment Plan includes many additional programmes and measures aimed at mitigating climate change, including using renewable heating in industry, utilising renewable energy sources throughout the commercial sector and flood mitigation for at-risk areas.
Funding will also be provided to benefit the following industries:
- Other areas such as justice, sports, culture and the National Broadband Plan