Tuesday, 17 December 2019

Questions (574)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

574. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if he has considered a strategy of financial incentives for the use of smokeless coal in the areas not under the smoky coal ban; and if he has requested the Minister for Finance to assist in this regard. [53355/19]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland has published figures comparing the respective costs of domestic fuels. These are available online at https://www.seai.ie/resources/publications/Domestic-Fuel-Cost-Comparison.pdf and show that while low smoke fuels are typically more expensive to buy on a weight-by-weight basis, they have a higher heat output than coal or lignite nuggets and, therefore, represent better value for money than smokier fuels. There is, in effect, already a financial incentive to switch to low smoke fuels.

In addition, relief from solid fuel carbon tax for certain fuels has already been provided. Relief is available at 50% of the solid fuel carbon tax rate for products with a verified biomass content of at least 50%, and at 30% of the solid fuel carbon tax rate for products with a verified biomass content of between 30% and 50%. The relief has been restricted to clean or ‘low smoke’ solid fuels to avoid unintended health impacts, particularly from particulate emissions of ‘smoky’ products. This should incentivise the promotion of cleaner and lower carbon fuels.