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UKIFDA Urges Irish Government to Consider Liquid Biofuels In Wake of Grant Funding Cuts

August 16, 2019

With the announcement this week from the Irish Government that there is no further funding available for the retrofitting grant scheme offered by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), trade association UK and Ireland Fuel Distributors Association (UKIFDA), is urging Government to stop ignoring the heating oil industry’s calls for a meeting.

UKIFDA Chief Executive Guy Pulham comments: “We have been calling on Minister Bruton to sit down with industry representatives to discuss how a pathway to the introduction of liquid biofuels can provide a practical, affordable and effective solution which addresses key Government requirements: to keep energy bills low; cost effectively reduce carbon emissions; ensure a secure, resilient energy supply; bring economic benefits and avoid unreasonable upfront costs for consumers. To date we have not had that opportunity and feel that with this week’s announcement of no further grant funding to provide 50% of the price of extensive energy upgrades in older homes will leave many homeowners in difficulty and plunge further households into fuel poverty. If the Government cannot afford to fund this how do they expect households across Ireland to do this.

“There are 686,000 households, mainly in rural and off-grid homes in Ireland who the Government are pushing to change to heat pumps but Ireland’s housing stock is among the least energy efficient in Northern Europe and many of those homes need substantial upgrades to their insulation before those homes would be suitable for heat pumps. Figures of €70,000 to €80,000 have been quoted for a typical deep retrofit on a three-bed semi-detached house including insulation, new doors and windows, a heat-pump system, solar PV technology and air tightening. That is a substantial amount of money even when the 50% grant funding was available and is probably beyond the means of the average family in Ireland.

Nick Hayes Irish Representative for UKIFDA adds: “The heating oil industry across Ireland has been working hard to lobby the Government on a more integrated solution and lower costs solution to meeting carbon reduction targets. At the moment, we feel the there is a lack of joined up thinking in Government and the announcement this week will add to consumers confusion on the best way forward for their energy choices. It will also reduce consumer confidence in Government Climate change plans. Biofuels would allow off-grid homes to switch to a more environmentally friendly fuel with lower carbon emissions straightaway, with a view to fully transition over time. Importantly though, there will be minimum disruption to households as they can continue to use a liquid fuel form of heating without making large scale changes to the home heating.

“We feel that adding biofuels into the energy mix for meeting carbon reduction targets and having a pathway to biofuels is key in reaching the Irish Government’s decarbonisation targets, and in a way that works for consumers too.

“We’re calling on the Irish Government and the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) to meet with industry trade bodies to develop a pathway for the further development of liquid biofuels for home heating.”

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