€55m fund to help Irish businesses move away from fossil fuels

16 Jun 2022

Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality with responsibility for Law Reform James Browne, TD; Minister of State for Land Use and Biodiversity, Senator Pippa Hackett; and Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar, TD. Image: Maxwell Photography

The Green Transition fund will give grants to help businesses plan their fossil fuel transition and provide up to €1m for manufacturing companies to upgrade their processes.

The Government is launching a new €55m fund to help move businesses away from fossil fuels and promote cheaper, more sustainable alternatives.

First announced in Ireland’s 2022 Budget, the Green Transition fund is divided into two parts. The first part is focused on grants to help businesses transition away from fossil fuels, while €30m of the fund will focus on investments in the manufacturing sector.

Up to €1m will be available to manufacturing companies under the Enterprise Emissions Reduction Investment Fund, to invest in areas such as carbon-neutral heating processes, smart metering, energy monitoring and R&D.

Details of the fund were announced today (16 June) by Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise Leo Varadkar, TD, and Senator and Minister of State for Land Use and Biodiversity Pippa Hackett.

“We need to take better care of our planet,” Varadkar said. “This generation should aim to pass it on to the next in a better condition than we inherited it. Businesses have a really important role to play.”

In the Climate Planning Funds for Business scheme, companies will be able to apply for a €1,800 grant to develop a plan to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels. Up to €50,000 in matched funding will be provided to help businesses develop their environmental management and improve sustainability.

A strategic consultancy programme will also help companies deploy and implement strategic initiatives in sustainability and decarbonisation. It will cover up to 50pc of the eligible costs incurred in hiring a consultant, with a maximum grant amount of €35,000.

Varadkar said Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has highlighted the “vulnerability” of becoming reliant on resources controlled by other states. He said the fund will help businesses prepare for a future “where economic growth and fossil fuels are not intertwined”.

“We need to recognise that, despite the fact we have a higher number of people employed now than in the history of the State, many of our business owners are still getting back on their feet after what has been an incredibly difficult couple of years,” Varadkar added.

“So, we need to help them when it comes to what is another enormous challenge – reducing our reliance on fossil fuels.”

The Green Transition Fund programmes will run over the next five years. It is part of Ireland’s National Recovery and Resilience Plan, which is funded by the EU.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic