I have copies to be handed out.
The additional subhead is comprised of €10 million from subhead G1, the information and communications technology programme, and €6.2 million from subhead F3, the energy RTDI programme. The reallocation of funding does not represent a curtailment of plans or any policy change for the ICT or energy RTDI programmes.
In addition to the token Supplementary Estimate, my Department is taking the opportunity to correct an error published in the 2007 Revised Estimates Volume. Subhead F1 current was misallocated €2.457 million above the required amount in the 2007 REV, which should have been allocated to subhead F4, energy efficiency initiatives-Power of One.
The provision of additional funding can be seen as recognition of SEI's success in rolling out key capital programmes. SEI is a relatively new State body established in 2002. It has taken several years to get its programmes up and running. Now that it is ramping up, the capital budget required to fund these programmes must rise. The budgetary allocation to SEI for its programmes in 2007 is being augmented to allow it to meet increased spending proposals on its successful programmes.
SEI's major energy conservation programmes have proven extremely popular. Greener homes and houses of tomorrow account for most of the additional spending proposals. On 3 September, I announced that the greener homes scheme had fulfilled its initial objectives of stimulating demand for renewable technologies in homes and of assisting the fledgling renewable heat industry. The scheme surpassed its targets ahead of schedule. Since its inception, more than 16,000 grants have been awarded under greener homes. There has been a dramatic increase in renewable technology suppliers and a tenfold expansion in the number of renewable energy products available on the market.
By August of this year, approved applications had reached the €47 million five-year capital sanction for the scheme. Rather than end the scheme, I launched a new phase with revised terms and conditions to consolidate the industry and help more householders achieve their desire to embrace renewable heat technologies. Consequently, the grant levels are being reduced for some areas where it is clear that the market has reached a level of maturity to allow it to continue at a lower rate of support. Other grant levels remain unchanged.
Greener homes has a budget of €20 million in 2007, accounting for the majority of SEI's allocated capital budget of €31 million. The success of greener homes means that the 2007 allocation is not sufficient to pay all grant approved householders who have installed solar panels, heat pumps, wool pellet boilers and other supported technologies. An additional €9 million is needed in this calendar year to cover these grant approvals. A further €1 million is needed for the ReHeat scheme, which grant aids renewable heat technologies for schools, hospitals and community groups.
The house of tomorrow programme is another success story. Last month, my colleague, the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Deputy Gormley, published for consultation draft new building regulations that will see new housing some 40% more energy efficient than housing built under current regulations. Carbon emissions will be similarly reduced by 40%. Our renewable heat obligations require all new buildings to have renewable heat components.
These major steps forward in energy and CO2 performance standards have been made possible by the house of tomorrow programme. Successor programmes will raise these performance standards even further to prepare the industry for a further planned revision of the building regulations in 2010, which will see energy performance standards some 60% better than at present.
House of tomorrow has achieved its objective by funding developers to build a national network of replicable model examples of more sustainable energy house building practices. Developments funded under house of tomorrow can regularly be seen in the property supplements. The high energy performance standards of these developments are seen as a strong marketing tool. In this way, house of tomorrow has served as a catalyst of change in the building industry and consumer market and has delivered the persuasive evidence base needed to support the political decision to revise the building regulations making mandatory the standards set by house of tomorrow.
House of tomorrow has a budget allocation of some €5 million in 2007. However, the nature of the programme means that binding commitments were entered into by SEI as far back as 2004 when the developers first sought planning permission. An additional allocation of €4 million in 2007 is needed for SEI to meet its legally binding commitments under the programme.
The low income housing programme was developed several years ago to help establish and implement a national plan of action to systematically address the problem of fuel poverty. The warmer homes scheme is SEI's main implementing measure under the programme. The warmer homes scheme aims to improve the energy efficiency and comfort conditions of homes occupied by low income households and to establish the systems and grow the capacity in Ireland to install such measures. The scheme adopts a social employment delivery model in which regional community-based organisations acquire and apply the skills to carry out works, including attic and cavity wall insulation, draught proofing, fitting of boiler lagging jackets, energy efficient lighting and energy advice. The low income housing programme has a budget allocation of €1.6 million but an additional €1 million is needed in 2007 if SEI is to meet its commitments under this programme.
The other main additional demands for 2007 funding are the building energy rating project and the industries programme. Under the European Communities (Energy Performance of Buildings) Regulations 2006, SEI is the issuing authority for building energy rating certificates. This new responsibility for SEI in 2007 required the agency to develop and manage the administrative and information technology systems necessary to issue energy performance certificates for every new residential and commercial building and each existing building that is put up for sale or rent. These systems have been designed by SEI to become self-financing by 2010 but significant start up costs are being incurred at present. SEI has a small budget of €500,000 in 2007 and will need an additional €500,000.
Finally, SEI's industries programme provides energy management advice services to businesses, including energy audits of commercial premises. These advice services help businesses save approximately 20% on their energy costs and are a significant contributor to our efforts to reduce energy demand in the economy. SEI branched out its business advice services in 2007 to include small and medium enterprises. This is proving very successful to date but, because it is leading to increased costs for SEI, an additional €500,000 is needed in 2007.
I am releasing €10 million from the information and communications technology programme. This funding has been identified from an unspent allocation relating to the national broadband scheme. While significant progress has been made to date on the procurement process for this scheme, no substantial expenditure will be incurred until some time after a service provider has been appointed. This is expected to happen during the second quarter of 2008. In addition, capital programmes such as metropolitan area networks are funded on a multi-annual basis which allows flexibility in terms of the rescheduling of payments.
I am also releasing €6.2 million from the energy research and technical development and innovation programme. Energy research and innovation is a key component of the science, technology and innovation strategy, and the National Development Plan 2007-13. This reflects the importance of the energy sector and the imperative for the economy and society to deliver sustainable, competitive and secure energy. The national development plan provides an envelope of €149 million for energy research and innovation to 2013. Under the energy policy framework and the programme for Government, we are setting an ambitious and targeted agenda for energy research which will ensure this multi-annual funding is deployed to best effect. The Irish Energy Research Council is preparing the energy research strategy for 2008 to 2013, which will be submitted to me by the end of this year. The strategy will advise on the priority areas and technologies most appropriate to the national energy research effort in the short to medium term.
The Government has already made a firm commitment to support the accelerated development of ocean energy, where Ireland has a natural advantage and needs to be ahead of the international development curve. The Government has also decided to amend the remit of Science Foundation Ireland, SFI, to include a third research pillar in the area of sustainable energy and energy efficient technologies. It is clear that we need to systematically build capacity in energy research and underpin energy and climate change policy with the requisite scientific endeavour. My Department's Charles Parsons' energy research awards are already funding research projects over seven years from 2007 totalling €20 million. Discussions are under way between my Department, SFI and the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment to agree on the foundation's role and remit in energy research. SFI will bring its proven success and expertise to the energy area. I see SFI as having a pivotal role in the critical task of ramping up our national research capability in this sphere. In that context, we are also discussing the transfer to the foundation of the Charles Parsons awards as a logical and sensible step.
We are putting in place all the essential building blocks for energy research and innovation to expand from 2008. The redeployment of the remaining 2007 funding to SEI programmes is a prudent use of resources and reflects the multi-annual flexibility of the overall energy research envelope. I have outlined the details of the token Supplementary Estimate, the costs of which can be met from within my Department's Vote. I hope Deputies will agree that the proposals are reasonable and I ask that the House approves this Supplementary Estimate.