Some €76m (including an additional €13m carryover) has been allocated for 4,500 direct and indirect jobs for energy efficiency measures under the Better Energy: Homes Scheme, Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Pat Rabbitte has revealed. The rollout of broadband is also receiving a €30m boost.
The budget for Rabbitte’s department amounts to €437m in 2012 and capital expenditure in 2012 is estimated at about €120m when capital carryover of €15.8m from 2011 is added.
Rabbitte noted that the allocation for his department in today’s Budget reflected his policy priorities of promoting energy efficiency and targeted investment in improved communications infrastructure and skills, which includes €30m for the communications programme to include the further phased rollout of 100Mbs broadband to second-level schools, and the rollout of the Rural Broadband Scheme, which aims to serve the last 1pc of Ireland not covered by any services.
Rabbitte also highlighted continued funding to assist in the implementation of the Affordable Energy Strategy through Better Energy: Warmer Homes, continued commitment to incentivising energy efficiency in commercial and public-sector organisations, and some €3m for the Digital Switchover Programme, including provision to deliver a national community-based digital switchover outreach programme.
“I am specially pleased that the Government has approved the rollout of high-speed broadband to all the second-level schools of the nation,” Rabbitte said.
“Over the coming years, this initiative will make a considerable contribution to new teaching methods, boost learning opportunities for all students, including those with learning difficulties, and ultimately make a major contribution to competitiveness for the workforce of the future.”
Rabbitte noted that the exchequer provisions will be supplemented by significant additional public and private investment in the energy and technologies areas which will advance sustainable job creation and more generally assist Ireland’s competitiveness.