The Government has set aside €130m as a dedicated fund to promote programmes for energy efficiency and renewable energy, with the hopes that a series of focuses could ultimately bring down the price of energy in Ireland.
Projects that are aimed at people “experiencing fuel poverty” will be the main focus, explained Alex White, Minister for Energy, who claimed that this €130m brings the actual allocation of state funding in this area to €440m.
Speaking at an energy conference in Dublin today, White said a new ‘affordable energy strategy’ is in the offing, which would include measures to improve the uptake of energy efficiency retrofitting schemes in the private rented sector.
And he said his officials were working with the HSE on the design of a new programme targeted at people with acute health conditions who live in poorly-insulated homes.
“Our intention is to leverage the experience of trusted health professionals to reach people who may be unaware of opportunities like the Warmer Homes Scheme, which could make a big difference to their health and their wealth,” he said.
The money, part of a broader €27bn Capital Plan announced last week, will fund a range of new measures including a renewable heat incentive, schemes to improve energy efficiency, and incentives to boost the take-up of electric vehicles.
Indeed the internet of things was touched on by White, who argues that things like smart metering innovations were “primed to give consumers far more control” over their energy bills.
“Improving the energy efficiency of our homes is also the single most effective way to alleviate energy poverty,” he said.
“Evidence from St Vincent de Paul – and, indeed, from the Warmer Homes Scheme, which has so far upgraded some 120,000 homes – demonstrates that you can halve a household’s fuel bills by reducing the amount of energy we waste.”
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