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Budget 2018 sees rollout of Irish Renewable Heat Incentive scheme

The Budget 2018 provides a 22 percent increase in Capital funding, and an 11 percent increase in net Current funding, resulting in a total allocation of EUR 581 million for the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment. Key priorities for the Department include expansion of energy efficiency programmes, the rollout of the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) Scheme and continued landfill remediation.

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Denis Naughten TD speaking at the Energy in Agriculture event at Gurteen Agricultural College (photo courtesy Gurteen Agricultural College).

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Denis Naughten TD speaking at the Energy in Agriculture event last August at Gurteen Agricultural College (photo courtesy Gurteen Agricultural College).

On October 10, the Irish Minister for Communications, Climate Action & Environment, Denis Naughten T.D. announced his Department’s increased funding allocation in the Budget 2018.

This significant increase in funding allows my Department to deliver a step change in efforts to improve energy efficiency in our homes, businesses and across the public sector. Building on the National Mitigation Plan, the Budget reflects the incremental steps necessary to ensure a low carbon, climate resilient and sustainable future.  We will continue to build on this start over successive Budgets, said Minister Naughten.

This funding will enable a significant level of services to be delivered across all programme areas in 2018. According to a statement, it “reflects the scale of the Government’s ambition and policy commitments” across a number of areas of strategic national importance, including climate action, energy efficiency, communications, broadcasting, environment and natural resources.

In 2018, the capital funding will be invested in sustainable energy projects which will save over 120 000 tonnes in carbon emissions every year, supporting around 3 500 jobs, mainly rural, while also reducing our dependence on imported fossil fuels. Next year we will spend 43 percent more on energy efficiency programmes than this year. In money terms that means we are moving from a base at the formation of this government of  EUR 84 million in 2016 to EUR 154 million in 2018, the Minister said.

Key priorities in energy and environment include:

  • An additional EUR 35 million allocated for the expansion of energy efficiency programmes targeted at reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the residential, commercial and public sectors, bringing total investment in this area to EUR 117 million
  • Funding of EUR 7 million will facilitate the rollout of the new Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme
  • Funding of EUR 10 million to incentivise the use of electric vehicles (EVs)
  • Funding of EUR 11 million will be provided to continue the landfill remediation programme, while other measures to protect the environment include anti-dumping initiatives and the promotion of waste prevention and recycling in the transition to a resource-efficient circular economy.
  • Increased funding for the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) to meet its expanded role in areas such as air quality and noise monitoring, as well as its research programme with a significant focus on climate change.
The proposed RHI may provide an market upswing for domestic pellet producers.

The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) Scheme is to be rolled out 2018 which is welcome news for domestic pellet producers.

The Minister emphasised the role of public bodies in reducing energy consumption and playing their part in “moving Ireland to a low-carbon future” as outlined in the Public Sector Energy Efficiency strategy published in January this year. He revealed that he had secured “Government agreement” that public bodies that save energy can keep the money they save on energy bills to put back into services, facilities and equipment.

This is a clear incentive that sits alongside the obligation on public bodies to improve their energy efficiency by 33 percent by 2020, said Naughten.

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