I very much welcome the Government’s decision to process all outstanding applications to deep retrofit homes for energy efficiency and to introduce a new scheme for national implementation.
The decision by the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and the Environment Richard Bruton follows representations from applicants who had been told no more applications to a pilot project being run by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland would be approved.
This is the right decision. It resolves a situation where 300 home owners were left exposed to unexpected costs and contractors were operating in an environment of uncertainty where jobs could be at risk.
It was not acceptable that people who had applied to the pilot scheme and incurred costs as a result, should be suddenly left in the lurch.
Deep retrofitting is in line with the Government’s Climate Action Plan for 500,000 homes to achieve a minimum Building Energy Rating (BER) of B2 by 2030 and we need to move the process along as soon as possible.
The pilot scheme for deep retrofitting offered 50% funding for upgrading homes to an A BER with up to 95% available for homes with low-income households.
Minister Bruton announced today that all applications for deep retrofitting that were received by the July 19 deadline for the pilot would now be processed and that those applications would be assessed and honoured in line with the existing terms and conditions of the scheme.
The Minister added that the rule which stipulated that all retrofitting under the scheme should be completed by October 2019 would not now apply.
Minister Bruton also announced the establishment of a task force led by the Secretary General of the Department of Communications, Climate Action and the Environment Mark Griffin to drive forward the plan to retrofit 500,000 homes.
The task force will consider grouping deep retrofits in the same area together, smart financing options and easy-method repayments. It is envisaged that a pilot scheme would operate in both an urban area and a rural area in 2020.