Tuesday, 16 May 2000
Dáil Eireann Debate
60. Mr. Dukes asked the Minister for Public Enterprise the local authorities which had, by 3 March 2000, set up local energy management agencies; the additional local authorities which applied before 31 March 2000 for funding under the EU SAVE programme or from other public sources to set up these agencies; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8709/00]
 The local authorities that had set up local energy management agencies by 3 March 2000 include Cork Corporation, Dublin Corporation, Galway Corporation, Cork County Council, Donegal County Council, Kerry County Council, Sligo, Leitrim and Roscommon County Councils, Tipperary North and South Riding County Councils and Mayo County Council. Additional local authorities that applied for funding under the EU SAVE programme before 31 March 2000 include Wexford County Council, Carlow and Kilkenny County Councils, Meath County Council and Cavan and Monaghan County Councils.
My colleague, the Minister for the Environment and Local Government, Deputy Dempsey, and I have taken a joint initiative at local community level to create a nationwide infrastructure of local energy management agencies aimed at reducing emissions of greenhouse gases and air pollution caused by the generation and consumption of energy. We wrote jointly on 7 March 2000 to county managers and chairpersons of local authorities to highlight the role of local authorities in continuing to meet Ireland's targets to limit greenhouse gas emissions under the Kyoto Protocol. The development and expansion of the network of local energy management agencies, sponsored by local authorities, has been identified by both of us as a priority in mobilising action at local level to help achieve Kyoto targets. The initiative is an excellent opportunity to promote energy efficiency and renewable forms of energy at local level as well as integrating environmental protection and sustainable development.
There will be an opportunity next year for further applications to be made for SAVE funding under the programme and other local authorities have expressed an interest in pursuing such funding opportunities.
Mr. Currie: In view of the fears that Kyoto targets are not obtainable, which is a widespread belief, is the Minister of State satisfied that sufficient work is being done on this level to try to minimise the deficiencies that are now apparent?
Mr. Jacob: The local energy agencies are meritorious and useful. The reason we are endeavouring to encourage them is to ensure that the impetus at local level is maintained and increased throughout the country. The major action to date is the Green Paper which deals with energy aspects in the Kyoto context and the substantial funding put in place to fund those measures incorporated in the Green Paper.
Mr. Stagg: Will the Minister of State outline what incentives are in place to encourage local authorities to set up local energy management agencies and what are the advantages for those who live in the local authority areas concerned?
Mr. Jacob: Funding is available under the EU  SAVE programme. The local energy management agencies which have been set up thus far have portrayed the usefulness of the agencies. That indicates the good work being done. What is happening at local level means that other county councils should involve themselves in same. We need them now given what we want to achieve via the Green Paper and the funding which has emanated from Government in response to that. While we are introducing measures at national level we also need action at local level. This initiative has been launched to encourage local authorities to establish energy agencies. I am pleased with the response from those coming on stream this year and those who have indicated they will come on stream next year.
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