In the context of planning for 2040 and an additional 1 million people on the island (50:50 between towns and cities), 660k jobs (to bring full employment back to pre-crisis level of 2.5mn by 2024) and 550k new houses (400k by 2030, or 33k per year before then), the Government has updated its plans for a €165bn capital investment over this decade in its review of the National Development Plan 2021-30.
80% RES-E target set in National Development Plan
The twin challenge of “growing and greening” is set out in a dedicated chapter on climate and environment, which acknowledges that whilst some investments may have a negative impact on climate ambition, deferral of some investments may also have adverse impacts on these ambitions, for example road infrastructure will continue to be important in the context of plans for 1mn EVs on our roads by 2030.
Relevant departments will be responsible for the climate impact of respective investments (as per the Climate legislation), projects will be assessed based on their climate impact, the public spending code will be reviewed and expected revenue of €9.5bn from carbon taxation as the level climbs to €100/tonne over the decade, will be directed towards the National Retrofit Plan target of 500k B-rated homes and 400k heat pumps in existing dwellings (€5bn), agriculture (€1.5bn) and the remaining €3bn towards achieving a just transition. An increase in the tax to €7.50/tonne next year was confirmed in the Budget this week. DECC has been allocated €12.9bn of the total NDP investment and will receive €89mn next year from the carbon tax towards funding residential and community energy efficiency projects. This will in turn go towards SEAI’s total funding allocation of €202mn confirmed in the Budget.
The NDP commits the electricity sector to an 80% RES-E target, which it describes as an “unprecedented commitment to the decarbonisation of electricity supplies”, and fully acknowledges the role that decarbonised electricity can make to achieving economy wide targets. The transition to a climate neutral and resilient society is included as one of 9 National Strategic Objectives (NSOs) and includes a sectoral strategy for energy. Under a number of Strategic Investment Priorities are included the RESS support scheme, Energy Efficiency, Research, and SOE/commercial investment in the Celtic interconnector and 2GW of conventional generation (mainly gas) to support operation and security of supply on a system dominated by variable generation(wind/solar). The NDP confirms the ongoing review of the Security of Supply of Ireland’s electricity and gas systems and the objective for this review to inform future policy and need for investment. Finally, a dedicated chapter and €1bn in funding is allocated to the Taoiseach’s Shared Island initiative, including a commitment to “enhanced all-island rail connectivity including the introduction of an hourly rail service on the Dublin-Belfast line”. This will be welcomed by many stakeholders in SEM when we return to more regular face-to-face meetings!