Tuesday, 29 September 2020

Ceisteanna (202)

Darren O'Rourke

Ceist:

202. Deputy Darren O'Rourke asked the Minister for Environment, Climate and Communications his plans to restore the grant available to persons to upgrade their boiler within residential homes. [27138/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Environment)

My Department funds a number of grant schemes to support homeowners to improve the energy efficiency of their properties. These are administered by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI). Since 2000, over 440,000 homeowners have upgraded their homes with support from these schemes.  This has resulted in warmer, healthier and more comfortable homes that are easier to heat and light.

The Better Energy Homes Scheme provides grant incentives to homeowners to improve the energy efficiency of their homes. The 2020 budget allocation for this scheme is €21 million.  Grants for domestic fossil fuel boiler replacement are not available under the Scheme and there are no plans for the reintroduction of such supports. Given the need to decarbonise our homes, grants are instead focused on renewable heating systems such as heat pumps and solar thermal.

Heat pumps are an attractive and extremely efficient alternative to fossil fuel heating systems such as oil, gas, solid fuel and electric home heating systems. Furthermore, heat pumps are very economical to run offering lower energy costs to homeowners as well as reduced carbon emissions.

The Programme for Government and the Climate Action Plan set ambitious targets for the number and depth of residential retrofits to be completed by 2030. The targets are to retrofit 500,000 homes to a Building Energy Rating of B2 and to install 400,000 heat pumps in existing buildings over the next 10 years.

The July Stimulus commits to increasing the SEAI budget by €100 million in 2021. This additional funding will be focused on community retrofit schemes, retrofit schemes supporting those in energy poverty as well as other initiatives to support the achievement of our retrofit targets.  The funding supported the first call for projects under the new National Homes Retrofit Scheme which was launched last week (25 September).  This scheme is suitable for one-stop-shops, residential service providers, employers, financial institutions, Approved Housing Bodies and local authorities.  Details are available at: www.seai.ie.  

Additional detail on other new and expanded schemes will be announced in the coming weeks.