Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications Eamon Ryan TD joined An Taoiseach Micheál Martin TD, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar TD and the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Michael McGrath TD, to launch the €165 billion National Development Plan (NDP) 2021-2030 in Cork today.
Minister Ryan said: “The €12.9 billion allocation for the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications over the period of the NDP represents a trebling of the Department’s budget and reflects the sheer scale of ambition and pace that we have set out in the recent Climate Act. This is a National Development Plan for a cleaner, greener, connected Ireland – one that supports communities and our climate goal to cut emissions in half by 2030.
“Looking across the €165 billion plan as a whole, this is the first time that climate and environmental assessments of all NDP measures have been undertaken. In so doing, we will ensure that the NDP supports our climate ambitions. To ensure that investments align with our climate goals, reforms have been made not only to the Public Spending Code but also the treatment of Energy Performance Contracts.
“Most significantly, €5 billion in additional carbon tax receipts over the period of the NDP have been allocated to increase capital investment levels in energy efficiency.”
Renewable energy goal
“Over the next 10 years, we will increase the share of renewable electricity generation up to 80%, reducing greenhouse gas emissions right across the economy. Offshore renewable energy is the biggest economic opportunity that our State has ever seen, because we have one of the best renewable energy resources in the world. Our offshore wind target of 5GW by 2030 requires private investment of tens of billions of euros and the NDP outlines our approach to unlock this significant private investment, including an enhanced regulatory regime, specific offshore RESS auctions and a second Offshore Renewable Energy Development Plan.
“Our regular RESS onshore auctions will deliver competitive levels of up to 8GW of onshore wind and up to 2.5GW of solar electricity generation by 2030.”
Retrofitting 500,000 homes
€1.3bn has been ring-fenced from carbon tax receipts to support, at a minimum, the national retrofit ambition out to 2025, with additional funds to be announced through the budgetary process each year.
This unprecedented funding for energy efficiency will support the Government’s target of retrofitting 500,000 homes to a Building Energy Rating of B2 and the installation of 600,000 heat pumps, of which 400,000 which will be in existing homes by 2030.
Minister Ryan said: “This investment will support significant numbers of free energy upgrades for low-income households and those at risk from energy poverty over the coming years. It will be complemented by the Government’s ‘Housing for All’, which commits to the retrofitting of 36,500 Local Authority houses by 2030.
“These measures will benefit society as a whole, as we reduce our national emissions. This investment will also boost employment in communities across the country. We will see this in the recovery and resilience of our supply chains – among contractors, tradespeople and businesses.”
“For individuals, the benefits of these energy upgrades include warmer, cosier homes with lower bills.”
Bringing broadband to every home and business
An investment of €2.7 billion will bring high-speed broadband to every home, school and business in Ireland, no matter how remote – through the National Broadband Plan. This means that people will have more choices about where to live and work. It will also enable more businesses to thrive and grow, regardless of location.
The move to a Circular Economy
The wider NDP investment will underpin the move to a Circular Economy and support initiatives such as the introduction of a Deposit and Return Scheme – to create a cleaner, healthier environment and a more sustainable society. The NDP investment will also help Local Authorities to remediate landfills, to ensure a better quality of life for local communities.
Minister Ryan said: “We need to change the way we produce products. This means a move away from the ‘take; make; waste’ model of consumption. The NDP will enable this transition. We will ensure a Just Transition that leaves no-one behind, as we move to our climate-neutral future. I recently met with project leaders currently supported under the Just Transition Fund. These projects, supported by the NDP and the EU Just Transition Fund, will make Just Transition a reality – particularly in the midlands region.
“This NDP will bring opportunities for citizens and businesses right across the country. It will ensure that we develop our infrastructure and our economy in a climate-friendly and climate-resilient way. That’s why the alignment of the plan as a whole has been assessed, to ensure that it fulfils the ideals of a green recovery plan.”