EXCESSIVE amounts of greenhouse gas emissions have forced the Government to offer more incentives to help prevent homeowners wasting energy.
This year’s budget was also about Ireland moving closer “to a lower carbon intensive economy”, stressed Finance Minister Brian Lenihan.
In a bid to cut back on CO2, more grants will be offered for people to insulate their homes. The move is likely to give a temporary boost to the building industry as well as employment for tradespeople, whose sectors saw significant job losses in recent months.
Grants for the Home Energy Saving Scheme will be €20 million next year, an increase of €15m on this year. Homeowners will be able to get grants of up to 30% of the cost of retro-fitting homes.
The measures are expected to run alongside the Warmer Homes Scheme which provides insulation and energy advice to households in receipt of various social welfare benefits. Some €5m from the Exchequer will go on this next year.
The Government also intends introducing another scheme for energy savings in local authority homes. More details are expected today when Environment Minister John Gormley delivers the Government’s green budget.
The extra scheme is expected to involve the retrofitting of older heating systems with new green energy ones.
Despite commitments to reducing emissions to 63m tonnes annually between 2008-2012, Ireland is currently emitting 70 million tonnes of greenhouse gases. The Environmental Protection Agency has predicted the country will have to buy several million tonnes in carbon credits, an increased burden on the taxpayer.
Commenting on the budget, Minister Eamon Ryan said: “Energy efficiency and renewable energy are key priorities in the energy policy. Increases in funding for energy efficiency will help householders to reduce their energy bills, stimulate investment in our country and cut carbon emissions.”