I propose to take Questions Nos. 147 and 174 together.
The Climate Action Plan and National Retrofit Plan have set ambitious targets to retrofit 500,000 homes to a Building Energy Rating of B2 or carbon equivalent and to install 400,000 heat pumps in existing buildings by the end of 2030.My Department is engaging with the Department of Finance, the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland and the European Investment Bank in relation to the development of a residential retrofit loan guarantee scheme, which will be one of a range of measures to help achieve the retrofit targets.
The residential retrofit loan guarantee scheme has been selected for inclusion in Ireland’s National Recovery and Resilience Plan and will be co-funded by the EU Recovery and Resilience Facility and Exchequer funding. The target for introduction of the scheme is mid-2022.
The loan guarantee will provide risk protection to retail credit institutions participating in the scheme. Zero interest rate loans are not envisaged under the scheme. However, the loan guarantee will enable credit institutions to offer loans with reduced interest rates to private homeowners and non-corporate landlords and make comprehensive home energy efficiency upgrades more affordable to consumers. This approach will signal to the banking sector new, sustainable business opportunities associated with retrofit and the transition to a low carbon economy as well as increasing the volume of retrofit activity within the State.