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The Energy White Paper

Delivering a Sustainable Energy future Ireland

In 2007, the Government’s Energy White Paper was launched.  The white paper entitled Delivering a Sustainable Future for Ireland sets out the Governments Energy Policy Framework 2007-2020, responding to the joint international challenges of energy security and climate change.

It is an action-based plan, in that it sets out strategic energy policy goals and then outlines actions need to realise these goals.  In all 22 strategic goals are outlined in the white paper, with many more related actions.  The main areas within which the strategic goals are framed are:

  • Actions to ensure security of energy supply;
  • Actions to promote the sustainability of energy supply and use;
  • Actions to enhance competitiveness of energy supply;
  • Integrated approach to delivery.

Sustainability, in terms of energy consumption and supply, are  key areas outlined in the white paper.  The paper incorporates the recently published National Energy Action plan, which sets out targets for renewable energy in electricity, transport and heating sectors.

Some of the main provisions of the white paper that may be of interest are:

  • Electricity demand side management will be addressed, with plans to install smart metering for all new and existing housing stock;
  • Review part L (Conservation of fuel and energy) of building regulations in 2008 to reduce energy demand by 40% relative to current standards;
  • Sustainable transport action plan to consider biofuels in captive fleets in Local Authority (LA);
  • Public sector is to lead the way in bio-energy heating, renewable electricity, CHP and biofuels;
  • A target set of 33% energy saving across public sector by 2020;
  • Energy efficiency programmes (targets and standards) for LA’s to be introduced;
  • Green Public Procurement Action Plan for LA’s to be published;
  • Existing social housing design guidelines to be updated;
  • Significant resourses to be allocated to remedial works scheme and LA major refurbishment works.

The White paper also calls for improved linkages between government departments, state sponsored bodies, regional and local organisations to enhance delivery of energy policy.  In regard to the energy agencies, one of the key actions identified was to “…review the remits, structures and funding arrangements associated with the local energy agencies, with the aim of enhancing their valuable role…”

The Government is to carry out interim reviews of the Energy Policy Framework every two years, reporting on progress and adjusting targets and policy actions as necessary.  There will also be a fundamental review, informed by public and stakeholder consultation, every five years.