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Executive should cash in on Euro millions for green energy economic recovery plan

27 January, 2009 - by Martina Anderson MEP

Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún has said that Executive Ministers developing plans to access the EU's Climate Change and Energy Package and changes to the EU's Cohesion Policy as part of the wider EU economic recovery plan could deliver millions to tackle sustainable energy, tackle fuel poverty and create jobs.

The MEP has requested meetings with both Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster and Housing Minister Margaret Ritchie.

Ms de Brún said:

"The EU Regional Development Commissioner Huebner has set out her plans as part of the EU recovery plan that will involve significant changes in the implementation of Cohesion Policy. This can open funding for major infrastructure projects particularly with the assistance of the European Investment Bank.

"The Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster should put in place plans to use funding to boost clean technologies. The European Parliament will be voting on these measures in April so it is essential that our Executive put in place plans to access these monies.

"The Social Development Minister should also bring forward plans to access a European energy-efficient buildings initiative worth an estimated 1 billion euro, particularly now that expenditure on energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy in existing housing, especially in low-income households, is eligible.

"Investing in energy efficiency not only keeps people in the construction industry in work, it also saves energy and improves efficiency.

"There is now significant indication that Barack Obama is serious about committing to an expansion in green energy as a core part of his own economic recovery plan.

"I have consistently argued that the Executive needs look at the potential of green technologies, and particularly green energy to create jobs as well as tackling rising energy demand, meeting energy efficiency and renewable energy targets and reducing CO2 emissions.

"In particular the opening up of an all-Ireland energy market could help bring down prices, particularly for electricity. We would also be in a better position to benefit from a new green deal to help re-launch the global economy.

"At a time of economic recession the opportunities presented by renewables and energy conservation should be seen as an incentive to improve energy efficiency, reduce emissions and create much needed employment." ENDS

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