More home and business owners than ever across Kilkenny availed of excellent support schemes available to help people adapt to a more climate sensitive lifestyle and save on fuel costs, according to Fine Gael Junior Minister, John Paul Phelan, TD.
New figures released show that across 2018 in Kilkenny: 90 home owners availed of home energy grants totalling €148,700; 73 free upgrades were performed on energy poor homes at a cost of €355,177; 3 deep retrofits were carried out; 18 electric vehicles were registered and they received grant aid of €80,000; 10 home chargers were installed and they received €6,000 in supports; 13 school workshops were upgraded; 4 lighting grants were financed, totalling €15,976 and 3 dairy grants were funded, costing €10,000.
Commenting on the works, Minister Phelan said: “Climate change is the existential challenge of our generation. We must protect our planet. Fine Gael’s guiding principle is that we intend to hand over guardianship and stewardship of our planet to future generations in a much better state than we inherited it.
“Range anxiety is a problem for Electric Vehicle (EV) drivers, but the government has just awarded a €10m grant to the ESB.
“The upgrading of standard chargers to fast chargers at 50 locations and the replacement of 528 standard chargers that are currently in use with new standard chargers will significantly improve the reliability of the charging network.
“The expanded network will support 40,000 EVs, about four times the present number. By 2025, every employer with more than 20 parking spaces will also be required to have an EV charger.
“As a community we need to think more about choices like these. I am seeking to develop momentum for Climate Action in a plan which is now in preparation.
“Many of our homes have very poor building energy ratings. Big savings in energy, in greenhouse gases and in comfort can be achieved by taking up these schemes,” Minister Phelan said.
Minister Phelan commended Kilkenny County Council, the not-for-profit 3 Counties Energy Agency (3CEA) as well as Kilkenny LEADER Partnership and other bodies which are working together to reduce harmful emissions and help home owners, businesses and the wider Kilkenny public think and go green.
One of the biggest projects undertaken in Kilkenny saw the project partners Kilkenny County Council, SSE Airtricity, Lissann and 3CEA working together. It cost just over €1,014,000. Of this, almost €370,000 was grant aided.
A total of 8 energy poor homes and 13 non-domestic buildings (7 community, 1 private and 5 public) are included. The non-domestic buildings include Mount Carmel Nursing Home, Kilkenny Library Service Castlecomer, Kilkenny Fire Service Callan, Kilkenny County Hall, Kilkenny Public Lighting Project Phase 2, Catering Foods & Packaging Ltd, Watershed, Droichead Childcare Callan, Windgap Community Hall, Ballyragget CYMS Hall, Thomastown Community Centre, St. Mary's Cathedral, Cois Abhann Centre Inistioge.
The upgrades include: lighting upgrade, cassette heating system upgrade, windows and doors upgrade, insulation, heating controls upgrade, heat pump upgrade, pool cover installation and biomass boiler upgrade (Watershed building), boiler upgrade and solar PV panels.
The home upgrades include: air to air heat pump with fully integrated heating controls upgrade, LED lighting, and a solar PV system
“Even though a Home Charger Grant of €600 is available, it was only taken up by 10 people in Kilkenny last year, this is disappointing which is why we need to get the word out on these progressive initiatives.
“There are over 250 community energy schemes in operation across Ireland. All of these schemes are administered by SEAI and funded by the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment.
“I would encourage everyone to consider availing of a scheme most suitable to your needs, more on how to avail of these grants can be found on https://www.seai.ie/,
“We are a small country but we have a big role to play in meeting this challenge at home and on the world stage,” the Fine Gael Minister said.