Dramatic decline in home retrofits must be redressed as first step in Government’s new energy strategy – An Taisce

12th May 2014
Press Release

According to figures from SEAI, the number of household energy retrofits has collapsed over the past three years, a trend which must be redressed as the first step in Minister Rabbitte’s new energy strategy, according to An Taisce, The National Trust for Ireland.

The number of homes enhanced under the Better Energy Homes scheme has fallen almost four-fold, dropping from 47,000 in 2011 to only 12,000 in 2013. Similarly, the number of homes improved under the Warmer Homes programme has halved, declining from 20,400 in 2011 to just 9,800 in 2013.

The Better Energy homes programme is aimed households on average incomes (and above) while Warmer Homes focuses on lower income families. The figures were given in response to a Dáil question from Catherine Murphy TD.

The dramatic falls under the Better Energy and Warmer Homes schemes are unfortunately not being redressed under a new programme aimed at communities, which registered 3,540 upgraded homes in 2013.

An Taisce highlighted to the steep decline in retrofitting as Minister Rabbitte launched the Government’s new Green Paper on Energy Policy. “As acknowledged by all, the critical first step in energy policy is to stop it being wasted”, said James Nix, An Taisce’s Policy Director. “An Taisce welcomes a considered and comprehensive Green Paper, but we cannot afford any fall-off in retrofitting. Even at this early stage we know that the first priority in energy policy is saving energy”, he added.

As well as emphasising the importance of energy saving, other key points of the Green Paper launched today include:

  • Extensions to peat subsidies are “not envisaged” after their expiry between 2015 and 2019,
  • The closure of Moneypoint is envisaged by 2025 and its replacement will be guided by “sustainability, competitiveness and security of supply”, and
  • Nuclear power is not envisaged, principally because a large plant “would unbalance the system, with too much inflexible baseload”.

As the Green Paper acknowledges, Ireland’s sustainable transport policy, Smarter Travel, is vital: “by creating compact … environments, people will be in a better position to be walk and cycle from home to avail of local education, employment and retail services”.

An Taisce also notes Minister’s Rabbitte comment that “because of agricultural policy under Food Harvest 2020, the energy sector is bearing an unfair share of the burden to comply with Ireland’s climate change targets”.

The government's consultation on the energy Green Paper runs until the end of July.

ENDS

For further information, please call:

James Nix, Policy Director, An Taisce Tel: +353 86 8394129 Charles Stanley-Smith, Communications Chair, An Taisce Tel: +353 87 2411995

email: publicaffairs@antaisce.org