16/12/2015

Energy White Paper Leads Way To Carbon Emissions Reductions

Minister for Energy, Alex White, has published an energy white paper, which identifies actions to reduce Ireland's energy-related carbon emissions by between 80% and 95% by 2050.

The White Paper is the first time an Irish government points the way to eventual elimination of fossil fuels with more than 90 actions laid out.

Speaking at a launch event in Dublin's Mansion House, Minister White said: "For the first time an Irish Government has set its course on the eventual elimination of fossil fuels from our energy system.

"We will only achieve this ambitious degree of decarbonisation by engaging all citizens in energy policy and its implementation. Meeting the challenge of global warming can no longer be confined to the realm of international treaties or Government decisions. It is about changing the way we heat our homes and businesses. It is about reassessing how we travel. It is about participating in decisions about the infrastructure needs of a low carbon Ireland.

"I would encourage everyone to read this White Paper and see how you can play your part in the transition to a low-carbon energy future. Over the next two to three decades, we will be changing the way we live – and changing it for the better."

The paper includes a number of directions, including:

• A National Energy Forum will be established to maximize and maintain consensus on policy measures required to achieve the energy transition.

• Citizen engagement measures will include support for local community participation in renewable energy projects; explore the scope to provide market support for micro-generation; a new framework for communities to share the benefits of new energy infrastructure; and the facilitation of national grid access for smaller-scale renewable generators.

• On energy efficiency, there will be improved domestic grant schemes and affordable financing options for energy efficiency upgrades; enhanced advice services for consumers and business; a new affordable energy strategy in 2016; strengthened building regulations; the extension of the energy efficiency obligation scheme to electricity and gas systems operators; a new public service energy efficiency plan in 2016; and enhanced energy education programmes.

• There will be a new support scheme for the development of renewable energy technologies; a policy framework for the development of combined heat and power projects; a new renewable heat incentive scheme; the development of a comprehensive heating strategy; a new policy framework for district heating; and a new regulatory framework for the development of geothermal energy.

• The planning and development of larger-scale renewable electricity infrastructure will be guided by the publication of a Renewable Electricity Policy and Development Framework.

• Transport measures will include grants and tax relief to encourage the adoption of electric and gas vehicles; a support framework for alternative transport fuel infrastructure; a scrappage scheme to replace older taxis with electric vehicles; a green bus fund; and support for rail energy efficiency.

• The transition will be supported by measures to assist the development of energy storage; and an economic assessment of biogas potential.

(MH/CD)

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