Irish Government sets out vision of carbon-free future

The Irish Government has published an Energy White Paper, which outlines plans for the country to become carbon free by the end of the century.

The White Paper includes more than 90 different actions and policies to achieve Ireland's transition to a carbon-free economy.

The proposed measures include an improved domestic grant schemes and affordable financing options for energy efficiency upgrades.

There will also be a new support scheme for the development of renewable energy technologies; a policy framework for the development of combined heat and power projects; a new renewable heat incentive scheme; the development of a comprehensive heating strategy; a new policy framework for district heating; and a new regulatory framework for the development of geothermal energy.

Transport measures will include grants and tax relief to encourage the adoption of electric and gas vehicles and a support framework for alternative transport fuel infrastructure.

"For the first time an Irish Government has set its course on the eventual elimination of fossil fuels from our energy system," said Irish Energy Minister, Alex White.

"We will only achieve this ambitious degree of decarbonisation by engaging all citizens in energy policy and its implementation. Meeting the challenge of global warming can no longer be confined to the realm of international treaties or Government decisions. It is about changing the way we heat our homes and businesses. It is about reassessing how we travel. It is about participating in decisions about the infrastructure needs of a low carbon Ireland.

"I would encourage everyone to read this White Paper and see how you can play your part in the transition to a low-carbon energy future. Over the next two to three decades, we will be changing the way we live – and changing it for the better."

Jamie Hailstone is a freelance journalist and author, specializing in local government and energy issues