Wednesday, 31 October 2007
Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources
Alternative Energy Projects
Question 580: To ask the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources if there are proposals to reinstate the grant rates under the greener homes schemes for heating systems based on renewable energy sources. [26473/07]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 580 and 581 together.
Phase I of the Greener Homes Scheme fulfilled all of its initial objectives and surpassed its targets ahead of schedule.
In light of the success of Phase I, Phase II of the Greener Homes Scheme was launched on 1st October with some adjustments reflecting market developments. The grant levels have been reduced for some technologies where the market has reached a level of maturity to allow it to continue at a lower rate of support. Other grant levels remain unchanged. The products that continue to be grant aided under Phase II are solar panels, wood pellet and woodchip boilers, combined heat and power (CHP) units and geothermal pumps.
The objective of Phase II is to consolidate the market, underpinning it with quality standards and training and providing for a long-term future that is not necessarily grant dependent. With this in mind the new phase is about ensuring that the market for the qualifying products, services and fuels continues to develop in a robust and competitive manner. In this was Phase II will help secure a range of objectives including more competitive offerings, revised product standards, improved training standards and greater stability across the renewable heating industry.
I am keeping under review the future scope for including other renewable energy products under the Greener Homes Scheme. In addition to overall budgetary considerations relevant factors would include product standards, supplier capability, installation quality assurance, energy and CO2 saving impact, market impact potential and, ultimately, value for money for the taxpayer.