Sustainable energy - Bring back turbine scheme

A REPORT published yesterday by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland reveals that we are way behind in meeting our EU energy efficiency targets by 2020.

Sales of electric vehicles (EVs) will have to increase 100-fold while up to 75,000 homes and businesses need to be upgraded for improved energy efficiency every year between now and 2020.

Twenty per cent of all new car sales within the next five years must be electric. In 2014, electric cars accounted for just 0.23% of new sales, with 562 sold, despite the fact that there is a grant of €5,000 per vehicle available. This will have to increase to a total of 50,000 by 2020.

While Ireland faces costly compliance fines if targets are not met, this should not be the main catalyst for government and industry to accelerate our renewable energy programme. Saving on energy makes sense in many ways. It would mean displacing €750 million of imported energy a year, cut CO2 emissions and create thousands of jobs.

All of that makes all the more perplexing the decision two years ago by the ESB to end a pilot scheme which allowed householders producing power from turbines and solar panels to sell the excess back to the national grid.

That scheme should be immediately re-instated and promoted nationally so that every home and business has a monetary incentive to help Ireland meet the 2020 targets.

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