€858 million in Budget 2022 to support the transition to a climate-neutral, circular and connected economy and society

  • €858 million – an increase of 19% over 2021 – has been allocated under Budget 2022 to the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications
  • €368 million – an increase of 17% over 2021 – has been allocated for Energy Transformation. This includes €202 million from carbon tax revenue for residential and community retrofit schemes (over 22,000 home energy upgrades in total). More than half of the funding will be for free upgrades for low-income households at risk of energy poverty. €10 million is earmarked for the Solar PV scheme; €31 million is for energy efficiency and renewable energy schemes in businesses and the public sector. A new low-cost loan scheme for residential retrofitting will also be introduced
  • €251 million – an 8% increase on 2021 – will support connectivity and communications, including €225 million to further progress the roll-out of the National Broadband Plan (NBP) and an extra €2.5 million for the National Cyber Security Centre
  • €152 million – an increase of 21% on 2021 – will support Just Transition, fund vital research and build capacity across the department and its agencies to lead and support Ireland’s response to the climate crisis
  • €98 million will support the transition to a Circular Economy and will protect natural resources

An increased allocation for the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications under Budget 2022 will underpin the delivery of key Programme for Government commitments. In particular, significant funding will go to national retrofitting and home energy upgrade programmes, as well as the continued roll-out of the National Broadband Plan.

The Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan TD, said:

“Budget 2022 is about supporting our citizens as we begin the transition to a climate neutral, circular and connected economy and society. The increased funding for retrofitting and energy efficiency will build a multi-billion euro industry that will create jobs, cut emissions and make our homes warmer and healthier. More than half of our retrofitting grants will go to free energy upgrades for low-income households – helping them save on bills. I’m also delighted that my colleague Minister Darragh O’Brien is making a substantial allocation of a further €85m to retrofit social housing.

“Cutting our emissions in half by 2030 is both a challenge and an opportunity. Today we are strengthening our capacity to do that in very practical ways.”

Minister of State with responsibility for Postal Policy and Eircodes, Hildegarde Naughton TD, said:

“Increased funding for the department under Budget 2022 will enable us to deliver on our ambitious targets, not least in the areas of climate change and communications. These measures and initiatives will enable us to unlock potential – right across the country.”

Minister of State with responsibility for Communications and Circular Economy, Ossian Smyth TD, said:

“I welcome the increase in funding for connectivity and communications. This will enable us to continue to roll out the National Broadband Plan (NBP). It means that the high-speed fibre network will pass at least 130,000 homes and businesses before the end of 2022. Additional funding will be invested in the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC). Funding under Budget 2022 will also support our transition to a Circular Economy, including the launch of a Deposit and Return Scheme (DRS).”

Energy transformation including retrofitting: €368 million (17% increase on 2021)

  • Budget 2022 commits €202 million in carbon tax revenue to fund the SEAI residential and community retrofit schemes and a further €10 million from the Exchequer for the Solar PV scheme. This investment will support over 22,000 home energy upgrades, including over 6,000 homes to a Building Energy Rating (BER) of B2. It will deliver warmer, healthier and more comfortable homes with lower energy bills. It will also reduce emissions from the residential sector and improve air quality
  • €109 million of this €202 million allocation will be used to provide free energy efficiency upgrades to households that are in, or at risk of, energy poverty. Over 4,500 upgrades will be carried out under these SEAI schemes
  • the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage will invest a further €85 million as part of the Local Authority Retrofit Programme in 2022. This will deliver approximately 2,400 B2 retrofits of Local Authority homes next year
  • a new low-cost loan scheme for residential retrofitting will be introduced. This part-Exchequer and part-EU funded scheme will enable credit institutions to offer loans at reduced interest rates – making energy upgrades more affordable
  • €10 million is for the Solar PV Scheme for 2022 – to help domestic customers who install roof-top solar photovoltaic (PV) equipment on their homes. This allocation will provide for an increase in grant applications, as part of the transition to the proposed Micro-generation Support Scheme
  • €31 million is for improving energy efficiency and increasing the use of renewable energy in businesses and across the public sector
  • increased resources in the department and its agencies will support the delivery of a second Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS 2) auction, the first Offshore Renewable Electricity Scheme (ORESS), and to ensure continued security of electricity supply

Delivering world-class connectivity and communications: €251 million (8% increase on 2021)

Rolling out the National Broadband Plan

  • €225 million will progress the roll-out of the high-speed broadband network next year under the National Broadband Plan
  • the National Broadband Plan will continue to be delivered within the overall subsidy cap – under the existing contract
  • an estimated 60,000 premises will be passed by the end of 2021. The investment in 2022 will allow that number to grow to at least 130,000 by the end of next year
  • building on the existing provision of up to 300 connected hubs in remote locations, close to 700 primary schools will be provided with high-speed connectivity by the end of next year

Strengthening cyber security

  • in line with the government’s commitment to the National Cyber Security Strategy, €2.5 million of additional funding will be invested in the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) – to increase staff numbers to 45 by the end of 2022
  • work will also commence in 2022 on the NCSC’s permanent home in Beggar’s Bush, which will provide state-of-the-art secure premises with space for the organisation to grow, including a facility for the Joint Security Operations Centre

Climate action and environment leadership: €152 million (21% increase on 2021)

This funding will ensure that we can deliver on our climate action commitments. Climate research and the development of new technologies will be central to meeting our targets of a 51% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and net zero emissions no later than 2050.

Ensuring a just transition

  • €34 million of funding will be available in 2022 for projects that are approved for EU and national Just Transition funds. These will be in areas and sectors of the economy most impacted by the transition to net zero emissions
  • the national Just Transition Fund will continue to support projects across the wider midlands region, (including east Galway, Kildare, Laois, Longford, north Tipperary, Offaly, Roscommon and Westmeath), and will have significant employment and enterprise potential

Rehabilitating our peatlands

  • €22 million will go towards the Bord na Móna Peatlands Rehabilitation Scheme in 2022. Over its lifetime, this scheme will protect the storage of 100 million tonnes of CO2 emissions and enhance biodiversity, as well as creating jobs

Funding research to tackle climate change and improve air quality

  • €11 million will fund climate research to enable Ireland to meet its renewable energy targets and climate commitments
  • funding will also be ring-fenced to strengthen and enforce air quality regulations. In tandem with this the department will develop Ireland’s first ever Clean Air Strategy

Growing the Circular Economy and protecting our natural resources: €98 million

Circular Economy and Natural Resources has been allocated €98 million under Budget 2022 to tackle environmental damage, manage waste, safeguard our natural resources and to support the move to a Circular Economy. This includes:

  • supporting an ambitious programme of remediation of former landfill sites (€26 million) including, for example, the illegal site at Kerdiffstown, Kildare
  • waste management initiatives (€10 million) and enforcement activities by Local Authorities, including through the Waste Enforcement Regional Lead Authorities and support the development of the new National Waste Management Plan
  • geoscience research activities and projects (€12 million) to support the Climate Action Plan – groundwater, coastal vulnerability and deep geothermal energy development
  • supporting the implementation of the government’s Waste Action Plan for a Circular Economy, including the introduction of a Deposit and Return Scheme for cans and bottles
  • conservation and protection of our inland fisheries (€3 million), some of which are under threat