Last year, the Government of Ireland, through the SEAI, invested €120 million in sustainable energy upgrades and actions. Among the beneficiaries were; 21,350 homeowners, 37 communities, 310 businesses, and 2,000 purchasers of electric vehicles. The SEAI highlighted these figures as it reported on its outcomes for 2018. These citizens and businesses are the early adopters and are now using less energy, enjoying lower day to day costs, and are more future proofed as Ireland determines its approach to carbon taxation and climate action.
Among the supports available to homeowners were special pilot projects exploring deep retrofitting, solar photovoltaic systems and home retrofit financing. SEAI also collaborated in a programme with the HSE, the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment and the Department of Health looking at health benefits of energy upgrades. Aside from the capital supports, SEAI also delivered energy advisory training and peer-to-peer knowledge brokering across industry, business, SMEs, and the public sector. Community engagement also accelerated with 235 communities now engaged in SEAI’s network, representing more than 10,000 citizens nationwide.
Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Richard Bruton said:
“Last year, we invested €120 million in helping thousands of people across the country make their homes and businesses more energy efficient. These upgrades not only saved the individuals in question money, but improved their living or working standards and made a significant contribution to reducing their carbon footprint.
This government wants to make Ireland a leader, not a follower, in responding to climate change. Addressing energy inefficiencies in our built environment will be key to delivering on that ambition and we need to step up the progress we are making. I am currently developing an all of government plan on climate action. As part of this plan, we will be exploring how we can work with communities, householders and businesses to do more and step up our ambition.”
Speaking of the achievements, Jim Gannon, CEO of SEAI said:
“2018 has been an important year, not just for the SEAI but for Ireland as a whole. We are at a landmark where, at both policy and individual levels, critical decisions must be taken to prepare for the future. It is encouraging that the Irish public, more generally, are now finding their voice with regard to climate change and the need for action. There is much talk at the moment of the pending increase in the carbon tax and approaches that might be taken. The good news is that through SEAI programmes, citizens, communities and businesses are being supported to reduce their energy use and so reduce their exposure to whatever tax instrument may come down the line.
This year, SEAI continued to accelerate policy formation through direct support to Government, preparing 17 targeted reports through our policy insights and modelling team. Our behavioural economics team also published its first report analysing international studies, highlighting options that could apply in both the public and private sector. Our pilot programmes are also providing the evidence base needed to identify the opportunities and costs to accelerate our decarbonisation, supporting the ambitions expressed by the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment and, increasingly, Ireland’s citizens’.
2018 saw a significant increase in the level of Government supports in research and innovation, with €10 million committed to more than 50 projects. This was bolstered by strategic partnerships with other agencies including; EPA, Met Éireann, the Marine Institute, Gas Networks Ireland, and the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport. Under its market surveillance role, SEAI continue to deliver on Ireland’s energy labelling regulations helping people make more informed purchasing decisions for appliances and other products.
As Ireland moves away from fossil fuels, the SEAI plays a key role in providing practical policy and pragmatic supports to deliver effective change.
The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) works with the public, businesses, Government and communities to achieve a cleaner energy future. SEAI is funded by the Government of Ireland through the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment.