Budget 2021: €38 million allocated to energy efficiency and renewable projects

€38 million has been allocated to energy efficiency and renewable projects under Budget 2021.

The budget was announced yesterday afternoon (Tuesday, October 13) bringing with it an ambition for a “green, jobs-led recovery” from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Capital funding of €38 million has been allocated to support energy efficiency and renewable energy projects in the commercial and public sector.

According to the Department of Communications, Climate Action and the Environment, this funding is an “almost doubling of the allocation provided in 2020 and will focus on supporting investments that are in keeping with the government’s commitment to reaching net-zero emissions by 2050”.

Following on from the success of community-led projects in this year’s Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS) auction, €3 million in capital funding has also been allocated for the community RESS to stimulate locally-owned community energy projects.

Over €221 million in funding has been announced for residential and community retrofit schemes. This €100 million increase in allocation is funded through carbon tax revenue.

In total, across government, €286.5 million has been committed to retrofit activity, including social housing.

Minister Eamon Ryan said:

“Retrofitting homes will play an important role in our economic recovery.

“It is a highly labour-intensive sector and can create high-quality, sustainable jobs in local communities throughout the country.

“The sector will be a source of significant employment growth over the coming decades and a career path for young people via apprenticeships.

Increasing the numbers of homes retrofitted will also reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the residential sector as well as making homes more comfortable and delivering health benefits.

Under the remit of this department, €25.5 million has been allocated for tackling landfill and dumping issues, along with €2 million in 2021 to enhance existing public education and awareness programmes that “promote the protection of Ireland’s natural environment, the health and well-being of our citizens and the transition to a resource-efficient circular economy”.

There is also funding of approximately €1.8 billion allocated to sustainable mobility, including: public transport; carbon reduction programmes; active travel; and greenways.

There is €27 million for tackling climate change through investment in carbon reduction schemes, including a 2021 allocation of €15 million to 750 taxi and hackney drivers in scrapping their older vehicles and replacing them with zero-emission capable electric alternatives.

Along with this, there will be a further €12 million provided for supports for a new vehicle purchase grant to help freight and commercial bus operators to buy electric, gas or hydrogen fuelled vehicles; and funding to trial hydrogen-fuelled buses as well as supporting the further transition of Local Link services to zero-emission vehicles in rural Ireland.

€210 million has been allocated to progress the rollout of the National Broadband Plan, with National Broadband Ireland targeting 115,000 premises being passed by the new high-speed fibre network by the end of 2021.