Tuesday, 4 October 2011
Dáil Éireann Debate
400. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the jobs created by initiatives funded by him under the jobs initiative; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27329/11]
Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Pat Rabbitte): I announced the launch of Better Energy: the National Upgrade Programme, last May in the context of the Government’s Jobs Initiative. Better Energy: Homeshas replaced the previous energy efficiency and renewable energy programmes: the Home Energy Savings Scheme (HES), the Warmer Homes Scheme (WHS) and the Greener Homes Scheme (GHS). Better Energy: Workplaces is providing financial support for energy upgrade projects in the public, commercial and community sectors in 2011. The new programme will significantly increase the scale and depth of energy efficient investments in existing buildings and facilities.
One of the key objectives of the Better Energy programme is to support the construction sector and the delivery by the sector of quality installations in line with best practice. The level of take-up and activity under the domestic retrofitting schemes to date is demonstrably supporting employment, given the labour intensive nature of energy efficiency upgrades. The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) advises that over 5,800 full time jobs are being supported in 2011. This represents an increase of some 2,000 jobs this year over the 3,800 jobs already being supported under the Schemes.
Measures being supported under the Better Energy programme are those designed to deliver the greatest energy savings, thus maximising the value achieved from the Exchequer allocation. The additional €30 million provided to the Programme for 2011 under the Jobs Initiative is being matched by a further €30 million in private sector investment. The total capital allocation for Better Energy in 2011 is €91.4m.
Recent analysis by the SEAI on the HES Scheme demonstrates that it supported over 3,000 jobs in the construction and related sectors in 2010. With regard to the Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Programme, which provides assessment, advice and training services to SMEs to reduce energy use, SEAI’s analysis has found that the programme has since 2007 assisted over 1,470 companies employing the equivalent of approximately 130,000 full-time employees.
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