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Written answers

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources

Energy Efficiency

Photo of Dara CallearyDara Calleary (Mayo, Fianna Fail)
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321. To ask the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the amount of funding provided under the capital plan for investment in domestic energy efficiency improvements; the amount spent to date; the progress made to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18788/17]

Photo of Dara CallearyDara Calleary (Mayo, Fianna Fail)
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322. To ask the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the amount of funding provided under the capital plan for investment to assist persons with low incomes; the amount spent to date; the progress made to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18789/17]

Photo of Dara CallearyDara Calleary (Mayo, Fianna Fail)
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323. To ask the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the amount of funding provided under the capital plan for the investment to contribute to the affordable energy strategy (details supplied); the amount spent to date; the progress made to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18790/17]

Photo of Dara CallearyDara Calleary (Mayo, Fianna Fail)
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325. To ask the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the amount of funding provided under the capital plan for the support for commercial and industrial energy efficiency programmes; the amount spent to date; the progress made to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18792/17]

Photo of Denis NaughtenDenis Naughten (Roscommon-Galway, Independent)
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I propose to take Questions Nos. 321 to 323, inclusive, and 325 together.

Ireland has a national target to improve energy efficiency by 20% by 2020. This means that we are committed to making energy savings of 31,950 gigawatt hours (GWh) by 2020. Our progress to date has seen a 12% improvement resulting from investment under the Capital Plan across the residential (which includes action to combat energy poverty), commercial and public sectors. The amount of funding provided under the capital plan for energy efficiency measures in 2017 is €82m. This is an increase of €20m on the €62m allocated in 2016, which, when combined with allocations for renewable energy, brings the total allocation under the Capital Plan for sustainable energy to almost €100m in 2017. This investment will result in the saving of over 116,000 tonnes in carbon emissions, reducing our overall dependence on imported fossil fuels and supporting around 3,000 jobs. The following gives an overview of recent outputs in the sectors highlighted by the Deputy and the amount of funding allocated to them in 2017.

In 2016 25,063 domestic buildings were covered by energy efficiency measures, including 7,786 low-income homes, where people are living in, or at risk of energy poverty. This represented a full spend of the 2016 allocation to the Better Energy Programmes and also meant that 316 gigawatt hours (GWh) of energy were saved as well as 78.5 kilotonnes equivalent of CO2 being avoided.

In 2017 I have increased funding for the residential sector, bringing the Better Energy Programme to €74m. This includes €8m for the expanded Warmth and Wellbeing energy efficiency and health pilot programme, a flagship project under the Strategy to Combat Energy Poverty, and a further €5m to a deep retrofit pilot programme, which will bring participating homes as close as possible to the Nearly Zero Energy Building standard.

The supports for energy efficiency in the commercial sector focus on providing enabling supports through the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI). Their commercial programmes comprise the Large Industry Energy Network (LIEN) and the SME support programme.  LIEN is a voluntary grouping of over 190 of Ireland’s largest energy users which SEAI supports to share and achieve best practice in energy management.  SEAI estimate that a potential energy spend of approximately €25m was avoided by the LIEN in 2015.  For smaller enterprises the current focus is on training and best practice supports.  SEAI has engaged with over 3,000 SMEs, providing strategic support, training funding, and advice for energy projects. €3.5m is allocated for this sector in 2017. 

The SEAI’s most recent Annual Report on Public Sector Energy Efficiency Performance shows that by end 2015 public sector bodies had achieved a 21% improvement in energy efficiency against a 2009 baseline with cumulative savings on energy spend to the end of 2015 of €619million.  To build on this progress, and drive the further effort required to meet the 33% target for improved energy efficiency assigned to the sector, I published the first Public Sector Energy Efficiency Strategy earlier this year.  I have allocated further funding in 2017 in support of the Strategy focusing on €5m for two partnership programmes between the SEAI and the OPW, and Department of Education and Skills, to fund replicable, pathfinder deep renovation projects in the central government property portfolio and in schools. 

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