Government's Investment Priorities Highlight Environmental Sustainability and Energy Efficiency

The promotion of environmental sustainability and energy efficiency will be a key focus of the Government’s Infrastructure Investment Priorities for 2010-2016, which will entail investment totaling Eur40 billion, up to 4% of Gross National Product, over a seven years period. The current economic climate has forced the Government to complete a comprehensive review of its Public Capital Investment Programme, the details of which have now been released.

The review sets out infrastructure investment priorities for the years 2010-2016 and in doing so fullfills the requirement to publish a revised set of investment priorities as pledged in the Renewed Programme for Government. The Review represents a reappraisal of the Government’s Public Capital Programme, designed to re-focus investment plans and ready the Irish economy for a return to growth.

Among the key allocations are:

* Eur4.21 billion euros for education,

* Eur2.89 billion euros for health

* Eur3.69 billion euros for enterprise

* Eur5.77 billion euros for public transport

* Eur5.97 billion euros for roads

* Eur3.66 billion euros for environmental services.

There are also major investments in housing, agriculture, flood relief, community development, energy, broadband, information and communications technology, tourism, culture and sport.

The Department of Environment Heritage & Local Government will be responsible for capital investment of Eur8.56 billion or 22.7% of the total Public Capital Investment Programme, 2010 – 2016.

Major Focus

A major focus throughout the entire programme is investment to promote environmental sustainability and energy efficiency. The programme includes significant investment in water services, energy efficiency, and waste management in particular. Alongside the introduction of a carbon tax these measures will help safeguard our environment and tackle climate change.

A major focus throughout the entire programme is investment to promote environmental sustainability and energy efficiency.

There are also significant economic benefits from these programmes of investment: water services infrastructure will enable industrial development over the medium term, while retrofitting of housing will create alternative employment opportunities for construction workers.

Eur880 million will be invested in a national energy efficiency retrofit programme spanning public and private housing, industry and the public sector – delivering major cost savings for consumers and reducing CO2 emissions.

The Government will invest close to Eur3.5 billion in developing water services infrastructure in light of existing and anticipated demand and to satisfy environmental requirements. Over Eur480 million is also being provided for Flood Management and Relief Schemes.

Investment is being aligned with the National Spatial Strategy while provision is being made to re-establish the Gateways Innovation Fund with an indicative level of funding of Eur200 million from 2012.

Other aspects of the energy and environmental sustainability programme include:

* Reducing energy use in our building stock,

* Target of 10,000 jobs for the retrofit scheme when fully operational,

* Making Ireland a world leader in the deployment of renewable energy supplies (Ocean and Wind)

* Development of a new industrial base in the use of ICT to improve energy efficiency,

* Ireland is an ideal test bed for new ‘Smart Grid’ applications such as building energy management systems and electric vehicles

* Our new Eur20 million International Energy Research centre will partner with industry to solve energy management problems with global applications.

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