Tuesday 12 December 2017

Government 'stupid' for not doing more to encourage electric car use - Bradley

Solar21 ceo Michael Bradley wants more action from the State
Solar21 ceo Michael Bradley wants more action from the State
Michael Cogley

Michael Cogley

The Government is "stupid" for not improving the tax rebate offered to car buyers who opt for electric models by Solar21, according to chief executive Michael Bradley.

The solar company described the provision of a State support for vehicles to change to natural gas as a "retrograde" step and also lamented the reduction in budget for cycle paths across the capital.

The rebate in place has led to a 0.1pc uptake in electric vehicles across the country.

The solar boss criticised the Government for a "lack of effort" in this year's Budget to put climate-change mitigation measures into practice. "Currently, Ireland has a long list of what it doesn't want and a very short list of what it endorses in practice - this list principally comprises of just oil, gas and peat. This needs to change," Mr Bradley said.

Ireland is one of only two countries in Europe that will not achieve the targets set for renewable energy and carbon emission reductions by 2020.

Solar 21 has urged the Government to build on its Energy White Paper and start putting policies in place, including support for solar energy for residents and communities.

"Ireland has only achieved just over half of the target it previously committed to. The target was to derive 16pc of national energy consumption from renewable sources by 2020, but the performance-to-date is just 8.6pc. The 8.6pc will rise by 2020, but we'll still be miles off our target," he said.

The calls from Mr Bradley come after new figures from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland point to a major spike in emissions from traffic across the country.

Emissions from cars, trucks, and buses are back to boom-time levels after increasing by almost 6pc in 2015.

In the last three years emissions from traffic has risen by 14pc.

The Government ratified the Paris Agreement last week, which is a UN treaty that aims to reduce emissions and keep global warming at a low level.

Ireland's emissions are broken up into four main areas according to the authority.

Transport is the biggest contributor with 37pc, followed by residential, which takes up a quarter of the country's emissions, followed by industry, and finally services.

Mr Bradley said the Government needs to switch its focus from "the great white hope" that is wind to solar power.

"The development of windfarms is being blocked all over the country by planning objections. Solar energy is much less obtrusive and therefore a much more realistic an option."

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