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Environmental NGO – The Irish Times. Says budget brings short-term relief ‘but we don’t need an energy revolution’ IV News

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According to Friends of the Earth, the overall budget package “lacks the scale and urgency to drive the energy revolution we need to move away from the unreliable, skyrocketing fossil fuels”.

While it welcomed some short-term measures, its analysis found that Budget 2023 was a missed opportunity to accelerate the transition to renewable heating through measures such as removing VAT on heat pumps or insulation materials. While it was positive to see tax credits for renters, there was no clear energy efficiency funding allocated to the private rental sector, while some anti-poverty measures, including fuel allowance adjustments, were inadequate, given the scale of the energy crisis.

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Chief executive of Oisín Coghlan said: “It is not enough or fast enough to turn us off fossil fuels for good. Additional funding for retrofitting next year is welcome but the target of 37,000 homes is too low. This is an emergency situation.” We should insulate 100,000 homes before next winter.

“And the government should ask the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland to sit down with the likes of SVP” [St Vincent de Paul] And Edge Action to make sure we reach the most needy. First come, first serve grant scheme is not enough,” he said.

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Coglan said a 20 percent reduction in fares for public transportation for 2023 was positive, but should be permanent because “it could be a game-changer”.

“€360 million a year for cycling and walking infrastructure is good but local authorities have failed to spend it. He welcomed the move to install solar panels on the roofs of every school, which would reduce their electricity bills. “They can sell the electricity they don’t use to the grid and that will require a positive energy revolution for communities up and down the country.”

The Irish Solar Energy Association (ISEA) said the budget failed to address the root causes of high energy costs.

“The production of solar power is going to be central to reducing our electricity supply and removing our reliance on sourcing fossil fuels from overseas,” said ISEA chief executive Konal Bolger.

“Ireland’s goal of delivering 5.5 GW of solar by the end of the decade is ambitious but doable provided we have the right policy framework in place. Budget 2023 failed to make progress on building that framework and will make reaching that goal more challenging.” , “They said.

He said the failure to eliminate or reduce VAT on solar equipment is disappointing. “This simple measure had the potential to reduce costs for homeowners who want to invest in generating their own clean, green electricity. Governments failed to act to facilitate this shortfall despite a new EU directive. This ensures that Ireland continues to tax the solution in times of crisis.

ISEA also criticized the failure to announce an extension of agricultural relief to include solar farms in the agricultural sector. “Around 25,000 acres of land is required to meet our solar targets, which remains usable for agricultural purposes. Solar may provide a new revenue stream for many farmers, but this drawback with the tax system is a major dampener and is putting an artificial constraint on the availability of land for use in solar farms,” he said.

Mr Bolger criticized the provision of three €200 electricity credits as short-sighted. He said that people obviously need help with their electricity bills this winter and this credit will help but it did nothing to address the reasons for the rising cost.

“We cannot continue to invest heavily in treating the problem while continuously ignoring its causes. The credit should have come with measures that reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. Unless we are serious about reducing costs. Until then, we may see this credit for many more winters,” said Mr Bolger.

ICMSA said the budget sent a “mixed message” to farmers trying to invest in environmental improvements. Its president, Pat McCormack, said the accelerated capital allowances available for slurry storage were meant to speed up people willing to engage with contractors, but the decision to impose a 10 percent levy on such concrete products was effectively overturned. Benefit of dilution of TAMS scheme along with replacement of capital allowances.

“It is already clear that the combination of these two measures is going to end with the cancellation of each other,” he said.

“We don’t think it would tax the ingenuity of a legislator or civil servants to differentiate between these environmental projects and other general construction work. Increasing slurry storage capacity and other on-farm environmental improvements should be exempt from the asbestos levy. ,” said Mr McCormack.

“There will be no serious objection to this because – as the government itself says – environmental improvement in farms is an absolute necessity if we even consider achieving the 25 percent reduction in farm-emissions which they have recognized as a national priority.”

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