Tuesday, 9 April 2019

Questions (506)

John Curran


506. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the steps he is taking to enable the maximum number of low and middle income households to undertake retrofitting of their homes to purchase EVs and to pursue additional energy efficiency measures. [16680/19]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) administers a number of schemes on behalf of my Department which are aimed at supporting householders to retrofit their homes and purchase Electric Vehicles. I have allocated €105m to these schemes in 2019. An overview of what is available is set out below. The Better Energy Homes Scheme provides grants covering up to 30% of the cost of home energy upgrades. The measures covered by this scheme, such as cavity wall, attic insulation, solar thermal, heating controls and a BER certificate, were expanded over the last year to include deeper measures such as external wall insulation and heat pumps.

The Better Energy Warmer Homes Scheme delivers a range of energy efficiency measures free of charge to low income households who meet the defined eligibility criteria and who are vulnerable to energy poverty. The measures were expanded in 2018 to include internal and external insulation. The eligibility criteria for the scheme were also extended in the last two years to now include families in receipt of the Domiciliary Care Allowance and the Carer’s Allowance.

The Warmth and Wellbeing Scheme was launched in 2016 as a pilot initiative under the Government’s Strategy to Combat Energy Poverty and the Healthy Ireland Framework. The aim of the scheme, a joint policy initiative between my Department and the Department of Health is to demonstrate the effects that making homes warmer and more energy efficient can have on the occupants’ health and wellbeing. An independent research project is underway in order to assess the impact of the scheme. Over 1,000 homes at risk of energy poverty have been upgraded to date under the scheme.

The Deep Retrofit Pilot Scheme was launched in 2017. This scheme offers grant support of up to 50% for homeowners who want to make the leap to upgrade their home to a Building Energy Rating of A and replace fossil fuel heating with a renewable system. The scheme also offers grant support of up to 95% to homeowners in energy poverty. To date, a total of 214 homes have been upgraded under this scheme, including 82 homes at risk of energy poverty.

The Better Energy Communities Scheme funds community based partnerships to improve the energy efficiency of the building stock in their area – homes, including those at risk of energy poverty, community facilities and businesses. It also encourages innovative measures and solutions. These partnerships can be between the public and private sectors, domestic and non-domestic sectors, commercial and not-for-profit organisations and energy suppliers, and leverage considerable additional private investment.

Further information on the home energy grants available can be found at https://www.seai.ie/grants/home-energy-grants/

The Low Emission Vehicle Taskforce was established in 2016 to consider the range of measures and options available to Government to accelerate the uptake of lower emitting vehicles. Phase 1 of the work of the Taskforce focused exclusively on electric vehicles. Following on from recommendations made by the Taskforce, a number of generous incentives for electric vehicles were announced as part of Budgets 2018 and 2019. Details of these incentives can be found at the website www.drivingelectric.ie.