The ROI Government has published its Climate Action Plan to Tackle Climate Breakdown, today (17th June 2019) to include a scheme to sell electricity back to the grid by 2021, a “one stop shop” model to energy upgrades whereby homeowners get everything from advice to delivery, as well as a government-backed means to finance energy upgrades in the home.

The Climate Action Plan is modelled on Minister for Energy Richard Bruton’s Action Plan for Jobs he curated while Minister at the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation.

In total the plan includes over 180 action points with the aim to reduce carbon emissions by 20 per cent by 2030 and to become carbon neutral by 2050.

Highlights for self-builders include:

  • Introduce a feed-in tariff to help achieve the overall target of 70 per cent renewables for the electricity sector by 2030. To be rolled out nationally by 2021, the scheme will allow you to get paid for the electricity generated through on-site electricity generating systems such as photovoltaic (PV) panels for which there is currently a grant available.

  • A much awaited revival of the smart metering project to support feed-in tariffs (so that the electricity exported and imported can be measured in real time).

  • Oil boilers will be banned from new builds by 2022, gas by 2025. However existing buildings, it seems, will continue to be able to install gas or oil boilers.
  • Deliver a new Retrofit Plan to carry out energy upgrades on 500,000 homes, with large groups of houses being retrofitted by the same contractor to reduce costs, smart finance, and easy pay back methods. Along with a new mechanism to repay borrowings for home energy upgrades, e.g. insulation, which may work through increased energy bills.

  • Bring 950,000 electric vehicles onto our roads, deliver a nationwide charging network, an electric vehicle scrappage scheme and legislation to ban the sale of petrol / diesel cars from 2030. Possible car scrappage scheme to incentivise EV purchases to be introduced in 2020.
  • Deliver an intensive programme of retrofitting to install 400,000 heat pumps in homes and businesses, replacing the existing carbon-intensive heating systems.
  • Possible carbon tax increases which would mostly hit those consuming heating oil, gas, peat or coal, and the price of diesel to increase to come in line with that of petrol.
  • A commitment to restore more than 22,000 hectares of raised bog habitat by 2035.
  • A commitment to rolling out district heating.

This is in addition to the latest update to the energy element of the building regulations which Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy signed into law last month to make sure that all buildings undergoing renovating 25 per cent or more of their property be required to bring the rest of their building up to a B2 energy rate on the BER scale.

According to the Department, failure to implement these policies to meet  legally binding EU targets could result in a cost to the Exchequer of up to €1.75 billion over the next decade as well as locking Ireland into a future high carbon trajectory.

The Oireachtas Joint Committee on Climate Action will hear from Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Richard Bruton TD, Wednesday, 19 June on Government’s Climate Action Plan 2019.

Image of a peat bog in Ireland via Wikimedia Commons