Irish budget backs energy efficiency

In a budget of sharp cuts, energy efficiency will be one of the few areas to see additional funding in Ireland next year.

Finance Minister Brian Lenihan announced an extension of existing tax breaks for electric cars as well as a scrappage scheme that would see owners of cars over ten years old receive €1,500 when they trade them in for a new, fuel efficiency model.

But likely to have far more impact are plans for an extensive retro-fitting campaign to improve energy efficiency in homes across Ireland.

"Boosting energy efficiency is good for the environment and for the economy. It is a growing area f innovation with huge commercial and employment potential," said Mr Lenihan.

"We are allocating about €130 million for energy efficiency measures which will include a new multi-annual National Retrofit Programme in 2010.

"This will build on the success of existing schemes delivered through Sustainable Energy Ireland and has the potential to create up to 5,000 jobs next year alone."

He said that €50 million of the carbon tax yield will be used to fund measures such as help for households at risk of fuel poverty to make their homes warmer.

Local authorities will also receive additional funding to retrofit social housing stock.

On top of this an existing scheme of accelerated capital allowances for energy efficient equipment is being expanded to include refrigeration and cooling systems, electro-mechanical systems and catering and hospitality equipment.

Sam Bond



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