Tuesday 4 September 2007

Green minister cuts renewable technologies incentive

THE Government is slashing grants to homeowners who use renewable technologies in their homes by as much as 50% — and it is a Green Party minister who is behind the incentive cuts.

The initial scheme was set up in April 2006 with a budget of €20 million.

It was supposed to last for five years. However, even though the budget was inflated to €47m, 16,000 grants have snapped up all the money and the Government is bringing it to an end.

Energy and Natural Resources Minister Eamon Ryan yesterday said the Greener Homes scheme had “fulfilled its initial objectives, surpassed its targets ahead of schedule and fully committed its budget allocation”.

However, he is introducing another scheme which cuts the incentive to avail of green technology.

According to the Government, the number of businesses creating renewable technologies has increased by 160% and the number of products they offer has grown tenfold.

Mr Ryan said he did not want to end the scheme but would have to “‘revise the terms and conditions to continue the good work”.

Householders would have received a grant of €4,200 for installing a biomass boiler, but will now receive just €3,000.

“I will be securing additional funding for this new phase via the supplementary estimates process when the Dáil resumes. The additional funding will also allow Sustainable Energy Ireland to fund similar energy grants for lower-income housing, school and community schemes and the roll-out of other innovative heating technologies,” he said.

His party colleague and fellow Government minister John Gormley would soon be introducing regulations requiring the use of renewable energy systems in new buildings, he said.

“This regulatory support for renewables is the logical next step in our support for the industry,” said Mr Ryan.

Irish Examiner

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