Budget 2016: Energy efficiency programme to support 2,750 jobs

13 Oct 2015

The Minister for Communications, Energy & Natural Resources, Alex White TD, confirmed as part of Budget 2016 that a total of €68m has been allocated for energy efficiency and renewable energy works in 2016, supporting an estimated 2,750 jobs.

As part of Budget 2016, a total of €195m has been put in place for the Department over the course of the year, with the greatest emphasis being put on increasing the number of energy efficiency and renewable energy programmes in the country, which could lead to a significant jobs boost.

This, the Government says, will support several new initiatives and nearly 3,000 jobs that will apply to Irish homes, businesses and buildings.

This will include an increased budget for the Better Energy Homes scheme, providing more grants to householders who want to improve their home’s energy efficiency.

The scheme was in particularly high demand last year, with a reported oversubscription rate of 300pc, with the Government hoping this additional funding will help bridge that gap.

In terms of brand new initiatives and schemes to be debuted in 2016, Minister White and the Government announced a pilot energy efficiency programme targeted at people who suffer from acute health conditions and live in poorly insulated homes.

Geoscience and ocean energy prioritised

This is expected to be launched as part of a new Affordable Energy Strategy in 2016, along with the introduction of a Renewable Heat Incentive to encourage more businesses to increase the use of renewable energy in their business.

Going back to what will affect the consumer, the expected increase in sales of electric vehicles (EVs) has been taken into account by the Government, with current grants given to those buying clean energy cars remaining the same, but €1m has been added to accommodate expected growth.

On the topic of renewable energies, Ireland’s obvious reliance on onshore wind is obviously on the mind of the Government as it confirmed that €4.5m has been assigned to ocean energy research activities.

The importance of Ireland’s potential mineral and energy deposits beneath the country’s surface has also not been overlooked, as 134 jobs in the sector were created in the first six months of 2015.

As part of Budget 2016, €9m is being provided for geoscience initiatives, including the INFOMAR and TELLUS programmes, which will support expanded geoscience research programmes in Ireland, both offshore and onshore.

Wave hitting pier image via Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic