Building on the approach set out in the national mitigation plan which I published in July 2017, Project Ireland 2040 reaffirms the Government’s commitment to transition Ireland to a low carbon, climate resilient economy and society. Exchequer funding of €7.6 billion, together with investment of €13.7 billion by commercial State bodies will ensure a step change in strategic climate change investments in the areas of transport, agriculture, energy and the built environment over the next decade. A new Climate Action Fund, with an allocation of €500 million, will leverage additional investment by public or private entities in climate action measures. Addressing the climate challenge requires a whole-of-society and whole-of-Government approach. The radical step change represented by the national development plan will need to be matched with efforts in all sectors, and public expenditure commitments will need to be complemented with taxation measures, regulation, and behavioural change.
During the period of the Plan, key capital investments to be overseen by my Department will comprise some:
- €3.8 billion on upgrading the energy efficiency rating to achieve a minimum of BER Rating B in the existing residential, commercial and public building stock. Coupled with this, new buildings will be regulated to the highest standards and the roll-out of digital connectivity will facilitate “smart buildings”;
- €1 billion on rolling out energy-efficient heating technologies under the support scheme for renewable heat aimed at large heat users, along with support for heat pumps and roof solar in at least 170,000 homes;
- €0.2 billion to incentivise the uptake of 500,000 electric vehicles by 2030, and provide additional charging infrastructure. Related support measures include a ban on new non-zero emission cars being sold in Ireland after 2030 and no NCT certificate for non-zero emission cars after 2045.
- €0.1 billion on energy research funding to accelerate diversification away from fossil fuels to green energy.
In addition, the new renewable electricity support scheme will support the installation by public and private entities of up to 4,500 MW of additional renewable electricity.
Commercial State owned enterprises under my Department’s aegis will also play a crucial role in climate action initiatives. Major investment projects in excess of €13 billion by inter alia, ESB, EirGrid and Bord na Mona, include the decarbonisation of electricity generation involving the conversion of Moneypoint power station and the peat burning plants to more sustainable low-carbon technologies and the roll out of national smart energy metering programme. Enhanced electricity interconnection and ongoing grid reinforcement will increase energy security and facilitate more variable electricity generation.