March 6, 2009
In order to get out of this mess we need our economy to grow. Here are a few ideas on how to stimulate the economy. The next crisis that will hit the world in the not to distant future will be an energy crisis. Ireland will be particularly vulnerable in this regard. I have a particular interest in renewable energy. Ireland imports over 80% or its energy, spending billions or euro in the process. This is mainly Oil and gas. To run our cars generate electricity and heat out houses. My idea to generate jobs and replace imported energy for heating our houses. This will be done by replacing oil and gas with biomass i.e. wood pellets and wood chip. There are already a number of instillations in the country but they are small in relation to the overall number of houses. The government should set a target to convert 50% houses to run on biomass heating within the next 5 years. This would require a stimulus package. Given the state of the government finances this will be difficult to do. Perhaps they could defer some taxes like vat or corporation tax for a period of 2-3 years, this would help with cash flow within business.
It is a win win situation, jobs would be created in the instillation of new heating systems, Sustainable Jobs would be created in the production and distribution of fuel. As imports would be replaced billions would be kept in the country. There would be taxes generated by worker in the sector as well as vat receipts from the sale of the products (This would be revenue neutral as it would replace taxes from oil and gas.). As the fuel is carbon neutral it would reduce the amount that would have to be spent in the purchasing of carbon credits under the Kyoto Protocol. I believe this will be a growth sector over the coming years. The government should do their best to accelerate it growth.