Renewable Energy Generation Targets

Questions (489, 491)

Barry Cowen

Question:

489. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the EU binding targets for renewable energy for Ireland for 2020; the amount by which it is predicted that Ireland will miss the targets; the cost per percentage of missing the targets; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16052/19]

View answer

Barry Cowen

Question:

491. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the EU binding target for renewable energy for Ireland for 2030; the amount by which Ireland will miss the targets; the cost per percentage of missing the targets; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16054/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 489 and 491 together.

The EU Renewable Energy Directive 2009/28/EC set Ireland a legally binding target of meeting 16% of our energy demand from renewable sources by 2020. Good progress has been made to date, with the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) advising that 10.6% of Ireland's overall energy requirements in 2017 were met from renewable sources.

In terms of renewable energy, analysis published by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland in November 2017 projected that we will achieve between 12.7% and 13.9% of our 16% renewable energy target by 2020. This is a huge increase since 2005, when renewable energy was at just 3.1%.

The Department is exploring the potential mechanisms and cost of addressing our renewable energy targets within the framework of the Directive. Any requirement for statistical transfer purchases will be undertaken against a background of discussions with the EU Commission and relevant Member States. As any purchases arising would be made over a number of years, the costs to the Exchequer of acquiring statistical transfers to meet any potential shortfall would be spread over a period of time and in any event the cumulative costs would not be known until 2021, the deadline for completion of all purchases.

While contingency planning has commenced in the Department, the focus remains firmly on meeting our 2020 renewable targets and on the implementation of existing and new renewable energy measures.

In securing approval to develop an all of government plan to make Ireland a leader in tackling climate disruption, I made clear that though we had made very substantial progress, we were off target in relation to achieving our renewable energy targets and I said we must step up our ambition in the all of government climate plan.

The intention is to finalise and publish the whole of Government Climate Action Plan within the next few weeks and this in turn will feed into the National Energy and Climate Plan process, which is due to be finalised and submitted to the Commission in December.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Question No. 491 answered with Question No. 489.

Questions (490)

Barry Cowen

Question:

490. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the EU binding target for greenhouse gas emission reduction for Ireland for 2020; the amount by which Ireland will miss the targets; the cost per percentage of missing the target; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16053/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

Ireland has agreed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20% below 2005 levels. On being appointed as Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, I said that while Ireland has jointly the most demanding targets (the EU average is 10%), Ireland is far off course. I am now developing an All-of-Government Plan which will set out the actions to be taken to make Ireland a leader in responding to climate change, including how Ireland will, at the very least, meet its targets for the period to 2030. I hope to publish this plan in the coming weeks.

Under the 2009 Effort Sharing Decision 406/2009/EC, which put in place binding annual emissions targets for each year between 2013 and 2020 for sectors outside the EU Emissions Trading System, Ireland must achieve a reduction of 20% relative to 2005 levels of emissions. The latest projections, published in May 2018 by the EPA, indicate that emissions from those sectors of the economy covered by the ESD could be only between 0% and 1% below 2005 levels by 2020.

The Effort Sharing Decision allows Member States to meet their targets using unused emissions allowances from earlier years, or through purchasing allowances from other Member States or on international markets. Ireland has already acquired a portion of the additional allowances that will be required for compliance. However, I am advised that Ireland will need to purchase additional allowances to meet projected shortfalls in 2019 and 2020. My Department currently estimates the costs of this requirement to be in the region of €6m to €13m, depending on the price and final quantity of allowances required.

Question No. 491 answered with Question No. 489.

Inland Fisheries

Questions (492)

Thomas Byrne

Question:

492. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his plans to chair the National Inland Fisheries Forum in the interim before a chair is appointed. [16055/19]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

I refer to the reply to Question No. 229 of 27 March 2019. The necessity for a further review of the Forum’s operation is being contemplated within my Department in consultation with Inland Fisheries Ireland to consider the impact of continued poor attendance by stakeholders.

Response to PQ 229 of 27 March 2019

The National Inland Fisheries Forum is established by Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) under the Inland Fisheries Act 2010 to provide a mechanism for a wide range of stakeholders to input into the sector generally.

A review of the original Forum, following 3 years of operation, identified that the low attendance from among the 60 members at meetings led to sub-optimal delivery on the Forum’s business. In that regard, the quorum for meetings of the Forum was reduced to address this issue. Following the review, the Forum entered its second iteration in October 26 2017.

Each of the main angling organisations was requested to nominate two members to represent their interests for the duration of the second cycle of the Forum. These nominees were then appointed to the Forum by the then Minister. The process of filling the remainder of vacancies on the new Forum was managed by the Public Appointment Service (PAS). Not all of the nominations available were taken up by the angling organisations and coupled with the PAS process a total of 44 members were appointed

I am advised by Inland Fisheries Ireland that the first meeting of the current Forum took place on 26 October 2017 and 16 of the 44 members attended. Twenty three members and 1 non-member attended the January 2018 meeting. The Forum last met in April 2018 and the meeting was very poorly attended with only 14 of the 44 members in attendance.

The Chair of the Forum recently resigned due to other business commitments. The process to appoint a new Chair is in hand and it is expected that meetings will resume when that process is complete.

Better Energy Homes Scheme Eligibility

Questions (493)

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

493. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if the better energy warmer homes scheme will be revised to include persons on low incomes who suffer with chronic illnesses such as COPD but are not in receipt of the fuel allowance. [16121/19]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

The Better Energy Warmer Homes Scheme is funded by my Department and administered by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI). The Scheme delivers a range of energy efficiency measures free of charge to low income households that are vulnerable to energy poverty. Energy poverty is a function of a person's income, the price of energy and the energy efficiency of the home. To date, over 135,000 homes have received free upgrades under the Scheme, leaving the occupants better able to afford to heat their homes to an adequate level. Since the Scheme is 100% Exchequer funded, it is designed to be available only to those in most need of Government assistance. To determine this with complete accuracy, the SEAI would need to know the condition of an applicant's home, including its energy efficiency level and heating system, the applicant's family circumstances and their household income level. However, it would not be practical or efficient for the SEAI to perform this assessment for each applicant to the Warmer Homes Scheme. For that reason, eligibility for the Scheme is determined through the use of indicators, principally the National Fuel Allowance. This provides an established mechanism to enable SEAI to find and identify people in energy poverty without having to create and finance a further expensive and intrusive administrative means test type regime.

The Warmth and Wellbeing Scheme is a separate Pilot Scheme which aims to measure the health and wellbeing impacts of improving the energy efficiency of a person’s home. The Scheme is being piloted in Community Healthcare Organisation 7. The Scheme is open to people aged 55 and over or aged 12 and under who are living with chronic respiratory conditions in households that are in receipt of the Fuel Allowance or the One-Parent Family Payment.

There are currently no plans to amend the income eligibility criteria for either Scheme.

Departmental Contracts

Questions (494)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

494. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment further to Parliamentary Questions Nos. 194 and 195 of 16 November 2017, the date on which the contract for the operations of the ECAS will be up for renewal; the reason there is a delay in issuing a tender for its management and operation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16165/19]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

The Emergency Call Answering Service (ECAS) is responsible for answering all 112 and 999 calls and texts to the Emergency Services in the State. The statutory basis for the Emergency Call Answering Service (ECAS) is set out in the Communications Regulation (Amendment) Act 2007. The Act provides for the establishment and operation of the ECAS and enables the Minister to enter into a contract with an entity to provide the service.

Following a procurement process a new ECAS contract was signed in February 2018 with BT Ireland, for the provision of the emergency call answering service for a period of seven years to November 2025. The terms of the contract permit the Minister to request the provision of continuation services for a period of up to 24 months beyond the expiry date in order to assist with the termination of the contract and the transition to a new contract for the provision of the ECAS.

Radio Broadcasting

Questions (495)

Brendan Howlin

Question:

495. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his policy towards public broadcasting on longwave radio; if he has raised with RTÉ the service provided to emigrants in the UK that utilises the longwave radio service; his plans to do so; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16169/19]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

RTÉ is an independent national public service broadcaster whose remit, obligations, principal objects and associated powers are set out in the Broadcasting Act 2009. Section 98 provides that RTÉ shall be independent in the pursuance of these objects, subject to the requirements of the Act. As such, I, as Minister, have no function in RTÉ's management of its day to day affairs.

This is an operational matter for RTÉ and not one in which I have a role.

Natural Gas Grid

Questions (496)

Clare Daly

Question:

496. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his views on the most up-to-date scientific findings that fracked shale gas has a more detrimental impact on the climate than coal. [16186/19]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

I am aware that a recent research paper by Cornell University has expressed concerns about methane emissions during unconventional gas exploration and extraction. The outputs from this research note that other studies estimate lower loss rates for both methods of extraction and that more research is required. The Environmental Protection Agency’s Unconventional gas exploration and extraction (UGEE) Joint Research Programme (2016) cites this paper’s author and others also noting that there is a ‘narrow set of primary data’ to draw on for the emissions over the full life cycles. When considering the full life cycle of the fossil fuels and comparing them, it is also important to look at the full range of impacts such as air, water and land pollution (NOx, Particulate matter, SOx, Ozone, mercury, water quality and disposal of waste residues). In Ireland the Petroleum and Other Minerals Development (Prohibition of Onshore Hydraulic Fracturing) Act 2017 provides for the prohibition of exploration for and extraction of onshore petroleum by means of hydraulic fracturing. However, outside this jurisdiction, the production, sourcing, buying and selling of natural gas are operational matters for the undertakings involved.

I am in the process of stepping up Ireland’s ambition to switch to renewable sources of energy in the All of Government Action Plan which I am developing. Even under this ambitious plan, natural gas will remain an important part of the transition.

During this transition, natural gas has the potential to deliver significant and sustained benefits, particularly in terms of enhanced security of supply. Natural gas can also play an important role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the power generation, industrial and commercial, residential and transport sectors by replacing more CO2-intensive fossil fuels.

National Broadband Plan

Questions (497)

Kevin O'Keeffe

Question:

497. Deputy Kevin O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the position regarding the national broadband plan in view of the large number of persons in rural areas who are without a broadband service. [16274/19]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

The National Broadband Plan (NBP) aims to ensure high speed broadband access to all premises in Ireland, regardless of location. This is being achieved through a combination of commercial investment and a State led intervention.

The NBP has been a catalyst in encouraging investment by the telecoms sector. In 2012, less than 700,000, or 30% of all 2.4 million Irish premises had access to high speed broadband. Today, 74% of premises can access high speed broadband.

The procurement process to appoint a bidder for the State intervention network is now at the final stage. I intend to bring a recommendation to Government in relation to the NBP in the coming weeks.

For those premises currently awaiting access to high speed broadband, practical initiatives will continue to be addressed through the work of the Mobile Phone and Broadband Taskforce to address obstacles and improve connectivity in respect of existing and future mobile phone and broadband services.

Under this Taskforce, engagement between telecommunications operators and local authorities through Local Authority Broadband Officers is continuing. These Broadband Officers are acting as single points of contact in local authorities for their communities. The appointment of these officers is reaping rewards in terms of ensuring a much greater degree of consistency in engagements.

Illegal Dumping

Questions (498)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

498. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the additional funding which will be made available to Dublin City Council and Fingal County Council to cease illegal dumping; his plans to ensure that all estates and streets in an area (details supplied) will have a regular and weekly waste collection; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16426/19]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

Illegal dumping is first and foremost a matter of individual responsibility and compliance with the law. While enforcement action in this area is a matter for local authorities, my Department encourages a multi-facetted approach to tackling the problem, incorporating enforcement, public awareness and education and, as such, provides funding to support the activities of the Waste Enforcement Regional Lead Authorities of approximately €1 million per annum and of the network of local authority waste enforcement officers of approximately €7.4 million per annum. In addition, my Department has developed the Anti-Dumping Initiative to work in partnership with local authorities and community organisations in identifying high risk or problem areas, developing appropriate enforcement responses and carrying out clean-up operations. Since 2017, funding of €3.3 million has been made available from the Environment Fund in this regard, which has supported over 400 projects across all 31 local authority areas, remediating black spots and equipping local authority enforcement officers with the latest technologies available to support SMART enforcement of our waste laws.

I recently announced funding of €3 million for the 2019 Anti-Dumping Initiative, an increase of 50% on last year, to support communities around the country to continue to tackle illegal dumping. Applications for funding from local authorities are open from April 1st and will close on the 30th of April 2019. Interested applicants can find more information on my Department’s website at the following link:

https://www.dccae.gov.ie/en-ie/environment/topics/waste/enforcement/anti-dumping-initiative/Pages/default.aspx.

The Waste Management Act 1996, as amended, and the Waste Management (Collection Permit) Regulations 2007, as amended, set out the regulatory framework for the collection of waste in the State.

The obligations on local authorities in relation to collecting household waste are set out in section 33 of the Waste Management Act 1996, as amended. In summary, it provides that each local authority shall collect, or arrange for the collection of, household waste within its functional area. The obligation to collect or arrange for the collection of household waste shall not apply if:

- an adequate waste collection service is available in the local authority's functional area,

- the estimated costs of the collection of the waste would, in the opinion of the local authority, be unreasonably high, or

- the local authority is satisfied that adequate arrangements for the disposal of the waste concerned can reasonably be made by the holder of the waste.

Under section 60(3) of the Waste Management Act 1996, as Minister, I am precluded from exercising any power or control in relation to the performance by a local authority, in particular circumstances, of a statutory function vested in it.

Oireachtas Joint Committee Reports

Questions (499)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

499. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the way in which he plans to implement the priority recommendations of the report, Climate Change: A Cross-Party Consensus for Action, by the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Climate Action; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16427/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

I welcomed the report of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action when it was published at the end of March. The Committee has worked constructively over the last number of months to achieve a broad consensus on a number of difficult issues. The final report contains a detailed set of recommendations addressing polices and measures across a range of Government Departments and Agencies. The recommendations will now be considered in the context of the All of Government Climate Plan, which I am currently developing and which is due to be published shortly.

This Plan will set out how this Government intends to make Ireland a leader in responding to climate change and will set out a range of actions in electricity, agriculture, transport and buildings, as well as in other key sectors.

General Data Protection Regulation Implementation

Questions (500)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

500. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his views on reports that tracking and cookie software are present on most departmental and local authority websites; if this practice complies with GDPR and privacy legislation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16428/19]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

The Data Protection Commissioner is the supervisory authority for GDPR and also has powers related to ePrivacy legislation. It is a matter for each individual Government Department and public sector entity to ensure their operations, including those related to websites, comply with requirements under this legislation. My Department uses cookies on its website for statistical and administrative purposes only.

As required under ePrivacy and GDPR legislation, the website contains a cookie banner which notifies website users about the use of cookies on the site. The banner allows users to consent to the use of cookies and contains a link to the Department’s Privacy and Cookie Policy, which provides users with information on the cookies that are in use and what they are being used for.

The Department’s Privacy and Cookie Policy can be found at the following link.

National Broadband Plan Implementation

Questions (501)

Aindrias Moynihan

Question:

501. Deputy Aindrias Moynihan asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment when fibre broadband will be rolled out in a location (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16444/19]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

The premises referred to by the Deputy is in the AMBER area on the National Broadband Plan (NBP) High Speed Broadband Map, which is available on my Department's website at www.broadband.gov.ie. The AMBER areas represent the target areas for the proposed State led Intervention under the NBP. This intervention is the subject of an ongoing procurement process. The procurement process to appoint a bidder for the State intervention network is now at the final stage. I intend to bring a recommendation to Government in the coming weeks.

For those premises currently awaiting access to high speed broadband, practical initiatives will continue to be addressed through the work of the Mobile Phone and Broadband Taskforce to address obstacles and improve connectivity in respect of existing and future mobile phone and broadband services.

Under this Taskforce, engagement between telecommunications operators and local authorities through Local Authority Broadband Officers is continuing. These Broadband Officers are acting as single points of contact in local authorities for their communities. The appointment of these officers is reaping rewards in terms of ensuring a much greater degree of consistency in engagements.

National Broadband Plan Implementation

Questions (502, 503)

Robert Troy

Question:

502. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if broadband coverage under phase 1 of the national broadband plan will be extended to a property (details supplied). [16564/19]

View answer

Robert Troy

Question:

503. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if broadband coverage will be provided to a property (details supplied) under phase 1 of the national broadband plan. [16573/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 502 and 503 together.

Both premises referenced by the Deputy are in the AMBER area on the National Broadband Plan (NBP) High Speed Broadband Map, which is available on my Department's website at www.broadband.gov.ie. The AMBER areas represent the target areas for the proposed State led Intervention under the NBP. This intervention is the subject of an ongoing procurement process.

The procurement process to appoint a bidder for the State intervention network is now at the final stage. I intend to bring a recommendation to Government in the coming weeks.

The Deputy makes reference to both of the premises being located close to the commercial deployment of high speed broadband. This deployment is part of eir's commercial roll out of high speed broadband to 300,000 predominantly rural premises, in line with a Commitment Agreement signed with my Department in April 2017.

eir’s rural investment in high speed broadband is a privately funded commercial undertaking and is not a phase of the planned State Intervention network. Although the deployment is monitored under the terms of the Commitment Agreement, it is not funded by the State and it is not planned, designed or directed by my Department in any capacity.

Decisions made by private telecommunication operators relating to the roll out and siting of infrastructure to provide high speed broadband services throughout Ireland are undertaken on a commercial basis. I have no statutory role or function in these commercial decisions and therefore cannot direct operators regarding infrastructure installation or delivery of services.

For those premises currently awaiting access to high speed broadband, practical initiatives will continue to be addressed through the work of the Mobile Phone and Broadband Taskforce to address obstacles and improve connectivity in respect of existing and future mobile phone and broadband services.

Under this Taskforce, engagement between telecommunications operators and local authorities through Local Authority Broadband Officers is continuing. These Broadband Officers are acting as single points of contact in local authorities for their communities. The appointment of these officers is reaping rewards in terms of ensuring a much greater degree of consistency in engagements.

National Broadband Plan Implementation

Questions (504)

Peter Burke

Question:

504. Deputy Peter Burke asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the position regarding access to fibre broadband for a person (details supplied). [16646/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

The premises referred to by the Deputy is in the AMBER area on the National Broadband Plan (NBP) High Speed Broadband Map, which is available on my Department's website at www.broadband.gov.ie. The AMBER areas represent the target areas for the proposed State led Intervention under the NBP. This intervention is the subject of an ongoing procurement process.

The procurement process to appoint a bidder for the State intervention network is now at the final stage. I intend to bring a recommendation to Government in the coming weeks.

The Deputy makes reference to the premises proximity to a commercial deployment of high speed broadband. This deployment is part of eir's commercial roll out of high speed broadband to 300,000 predominantly rural premises, in line with a Commitment Agreement signed with my Department in April 2017.

eir’s rural investment in high speed broadband is an entirely commercial undertaking, and not part of the planned State Intervention network. Although the deployment is monitored under the terms of the Commitment Agreement, it is not funded by the State and it is not planned, designed or directed by my Department in any capacity.

Decisions made by private telecommunication operators relating to the roll out and siting of infrastructure to provide high speed broadband services throughout Ireland are undertaken on a commercial basis. I have no statutory role or function in such commercial decisions of private operators, and therefore cannot direct operators regarding infrastructure installation or delivery of services.

For those premises currently awaiting access to high speed broadband, practical initiatives will continue to be addressed through the work of the Mobile Phone and Broadband Taskforce to address obstacles and improve connectivity in respect of existing and future mobile phone and broadband services.

Under this Taskforce, engagement between telecommunications operators and local authorities through Local Authority Broadband Officers is continuing. These Broadband Officers are acting as single points of contact in local authorities for their communities. The appointment of these officers is reaping rewards in terms of ensuring a much greater degree of consistency in engagements.

Oireachtas Joint Committee Reports

Questions (505)

John Curran

Question:

505. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his views on the findings of the Report of the Joint Committee on Climate Action, Climate Change: A Cross-Party Consensus for Action, that grid connection policy is no longer fit for purpose; his plans to remove the barriers that exist for large scale renewable projects; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16679/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

The report ‘Climate Change : A Cross-Party Consensus for Action’ was published by the All Party Climate Action Committee on Climate Action on 28 March 2019. I welcomed the report which reached cross party consensus on a number of difficult issues and the recommendations are being considered in the context of the work that is underway on the All of Government Climate Plan. I intend to respond to the Committee's Report in the forthcoming all of government plan to tackle climate disruption.

Better Energy Homes Scheme Administration

Questions (506)

John Curran

Question:

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]

View answer

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.