Cost Of Saving Energy


Sir, - The Minister for the Environment has raised the possibility of the introduction of an energy tax with a view to keeping Ireland's emissions of greenhouse gases in line with the limits agreed in Kyoto.

A wide choice of energy-saving measures is available to private and commercial users alike. These range from humble light-bulbs and diesel-engined cars to the most sophisticated technologies, and they all have one thing in common - they invariably cost more than the conventional alternatives. Their usage is therefore much less widespread than it might otherwise be.

Is the proposed tax a simple ruse to raise revenue, or is it genuinely intended to reduce energy consumption? If genuine, a balanced approach is called for, with as much carrot as stick. Any revenues raised by specific energy taxes should be used exclusively to subsidise the cost of energy-saving equipment, thus positively promoting more widespread energy efficiency.

Is the Minister prepared to make a commitment in this regard? If an energy-saving light bulb was the same price as a conventional wasteful bulb, the whole country would change over in the morning. - Yours, etc., Patrick Ryan,

Fort Lorenzo, Bishop O'Donnell Road, Galway.