The Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Richard Bruton TD, today rejected criticism from the Irish Petroleum Industry Association (IPIA) in relation to the Climate Action Fund.
Minister Bruton said:
"The €500 million Climate Action fund is a crucial part of delivering Climate Action in Ireland. I regret that the oil industry is threatening legal action against the government.
"I acknowledge that the actions which we are taking in the Climate Action Plan are a threat to the profits of the oil industry - in particular, our plans to move to electric vehicles and renewable heating systems will pose significant challenges to that industry. I hope that in the years ahead the oil industry concentrates on diversifying into renewable energy and supporting the transition towards net zero carbon emissions. It would be counter-productive for them to try to stall important climate action.
"The government in Project Ireland 2040 announced that the NORA levy would be re-purposed, so that the surplus in the fund would be invested into a new Climate Action Fund, which would be used to support projects across the country which can cut our relliance on fossil fuels. The required legislation was included on the government's legislative programme last Autumn.
"The projects we are supporting under the first round of the Fund will help cut our relliance on fossil fuels across transport, heat, electricity and agriculture, and demonstrates the types of investments we need to make. For example, the investment we are making in the ESB to develop a nationwide, state-of-the-art electric vehicle charging network, will be crucial to reducing range anxiety and supporting individuals to move to electric vehicles. The succesful projects under the first round of the fund will recieve €77 million, leveraging a total investment of €300 million."
"The government will not contemplate a situation where the oil industry can determine how the NORA fund surplus is invested or used. This levy is not paid for from the pockets of the oil industry – it is entirely paid by the consumer at the pump.
"The IPIA suggest that the NORA surplus could be used to create a fund to support current users of oil based fuels to transition to low carbon alternatives. That is exactly what the government is doing through the establishment of the Climate Action Fund.
"However, it must be the Minister who sets the critera for the projects that are to be supported in an independent way. In that way, we can ensure that the objectives of the Climate Action Plan are supported."
"I cannot contemplate a situation where this money is handed back to industry, or that a new fund is created where industry could oversee or determine the types of projects to be supported. That is not a runner. Such an approach would not give the public confidence that the money was being used in a fair and indpendent way to support our climate objectives. The IPIA have also suggested that the surplus should be used to offset future levy liabilities. That is not a runner.
"Under the Climate Action Plan, I intend to announce a second round of the Climate Action Fund before the end of the year."
Notes to Editor
The following projects were approved for funding under the first traunche of the Climate Action Fund:
- ESB eCars Up to €10 million to develop a nationwide, state-of-the-art electric vehicle charging network capable of facilitating large-scale electric vehicle uptake over the next decade.
- Gas Networks Ireland: GRAZE Gas - Green Renewable Agricultural Zero Emissions Gas Up to €8.5 million provided to support the installation of the first transmission connected Central Grid Injection (CGI) facility for renewable gas and a grant scheme to support circa 74 compressed natural gas vehicles.
- Irish Rail: Hybrid Drive for Inter City Railcar fleet Up to €15 million invested to design new hybrid power-packs for intercity railcars to reduce diesel use and greenhouse gas emissions. Following the proof of concept in one three car train, the hybrid power-packs will be implemented across the wider fleet.
- Dublin City Council: Dublin District Heating System Up to €20 million invested to capture waste heat generated at industrial facilities, in particular, the Dublin Waste to Energy Plant in Ringsend and piping it into homes and businesses in the Poolbeg, Ringsend and Docklands areas of Dublin city.
- South Dublin County Council: The South Dublin County Council Tallaght District Heating Scheme. Up to €4.5 million provided to establish a sustainable district heating solution in the Tallaght area to provide low carbon heat to public sector, residential and commercial customers.
- Road Management Office: Local Authority Public Lighting Energy Efficiency Project Up to €17.5 million to be invested to retrofit all remaining 326,000 non‐LED Local Authority public lights to high efficiency LED Lanterns. Public Lighting accounts for approx. 50% of total energy use and based on the application, the project could deliver emission reduction of over 40,000 tonnes of CO2 from electricity generation per annum.
- 3 Counties Energy Agency: Driving HGV Efficiently into Brexit Up to €1.4 million to be provided to to support the transport sector in reducing reduce fuel consumption and emissions from vehicles by being smarter about transport use and by embracing new technologies. Over a two-year period telematic equipment will be installed in over 1,000 vehicles and appropriate training for the drivers will be provided. Through continuous monitoring and positive reinforcement of driving behaviour performance, the overall fuel efficiency is expected to increase by 10%.