Renewable Energy Ireland launches heat strategy

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Renewable Energy Ireland (REI) has published Ireland’s first national heat plan – 40by30 – calling for 40% renewable heat by 2030, which would reduce the country’s CO2 emissions by 7% annually, in line with the Irish Government’s Climate Action Bill.

Developed by XD Consulting, on behalf of REI, and with the expert advice of organisations working across the sector; the plan shows that 40 per cent of Ireland’s heat can be provided by renewable sources primarily bioenergy, heat pumps, renewable gas and district heating networks.

Speaking at the launch of the plan Dr Tanya Harrington, Chairperson of REI, said:

“This plan shows how the renewable heat industry can play our part in delivering the ambition of a 7 per cent reduction in our CO2 emissions. This report is an agreed vision from across our industry and a call to action for the Government to set an ambitious 40 per cent renewable heat target by 2030 in the revised Climate Action Plan.”

The report identifies a large number of urgent policy interventions required from Government and industry to deliver its target, including:

  • Update the building regulations and BER assessment methodology to accurately reflect the decarbonisation benefits of renewable heat.
  • Make it simpler and easier for consumers/businesses to apply for the financial incentives for renewable heat technologies.
  • Implement Article 23 of the Renewable Energy Directive (REDII) under the EU Clean Energy Package with a mandatory high ambition of at least 3% per annum.
  • Set Green Procurement targets for the public sector requiring a minimum annual increase in using renewable heat of 20% of demand and mandate that all new or replacement public sector heating systems must be 100% renewable.
  • Widen the supports for renewable heat in the Home Energy Grants and in the Support Scheme for Renewable Heat (SSRH) and incentivise large heat users to adopt renewable heat solutions.

Report Author, Xavier Dubuisson of XD Consulting, said:

“The 40by30 report provides decision-makers at national and local level a roadmap on how we can heat our homes, businesses, hospitals and industrial processes using Ireland’s vast renewable energy resources, and have a big impact on our climate challenge.

“The analysis we’ve conducted demonstrates that we can meet 40% of heat demand with renewable energy cost-effectively, making a direct contribution to Ireland’s 7% annual target in greenhouse gas emissions reduction, and creating 23,000 new permanent, fulltime jobs over this decade.”

Donna Gartland, CEO of the District Energy Association (IrDEA) said:

“This heat plan is the first of its kind in Ireland, bringing together all of the key industries in the Irish renewable heat sector and providing much needed input to the Government’s new ambitious CO2 targets for 2030. Based on the detailed cost-benefit analysis conducted, the findings highlight the key role district heating can play in decarbonising heat in Ireland, allowing us to deliver all types of large-scale renewable and low-carbon heat through the network with few or no changes required from the consumer.

“The reports shows district heating can provide 10 per cent of Ireland’s heating needs by 2030, meaning a rollout of district heating connecting 1% of the heat market per year, a target that has been achieved by climate leading countries in Europe since the 1960s.”

Paddy Phelan, President of the Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) said:

“We are delighted to support the development of this vision for the renewable heat sector by Renewable Energy Ireland and its members across all of the renewable sectors and technologies. Bioenergy, including solid biomass and biogas/biomethane, as an indigenous, locally sourced, dispatchable energy source can deliver large emissions reductions across each heat sector and temperature range in Ireland.

“This plan sets a new vision and a clear pathway for how the Irish Government can deliver a 40% renewable heat target by 2030 while at the same time achieving the 7% carbon emissions per annum reductions.

“I call on Minister Ryan and the Government to adopt the 40by30 Renewable Heat Plan in the upcoming revision of the Climate Action Plan and to ramp up the supports for bioenergy to transition the heat sector away from fossil fuels such as imported gas and oil to deliver significant emissions reductions through widespread deployment of bioenergy”.

Renewable Energy Ireland was established in January 2019 as an open partnership of sustainable energy associations working collectively to support the energy transition in Ireland.

The 40by30 report can be read in full at https://renewableenergyireland.ie/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Renewable-Energy-Ireland_Renewable-Heat-Plan_-Final.pdf.

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