Environment News

Government Agrees to Introduction of Obligation On Heat Sector By 2024

The Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan, will introduce an obligation on the heat sector to include renewable heat by 2024.

Ireland’s renewable energy share in the heat sector last year was 6.8%, compared to the European Union average of 22%. While progress is being made, with an increase of half a percentage point on the previous year, significant action is needed to transform our energy sector to a high-renewable, low-carbon system on a pathway to net zero emissions by 2050.

Several policy measures aimed at decarbonising the heat sector have already been implemented. Building regulations have been updated and a share of the energy demand in new buildings now comes from renewable sources. The provision of incentives, such as SEAI’s residential and community energy efficiency upgrade schemes, support domestic heat users to increase the energy efficiency of Ireland’s housing stock. In addition, the Support Scheme for Renewable Heat offers supports for the adoption of renewable heat systems by non-domestic heat users.

In line with the recent agreement on Sectoral Emissions Ceilings to deliver up to 5.7TWh of biomethane to further accelerate the reduction of overall economy-wide emissions, the government has agreed to introduce an obligation on the heat sector to include renewable heat by 2024. The obligation will further incentivise suppliers of all fuels in the heat sector to ensure that a certain proportion of the energy supplied is renewable.

Sustainability must remain a key consideration as Ireland looks to change the way we source our energy. The design of policies will focus on the need to avoid negatively impacting on biodiversity, land use and food security.

The Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications will now carry out a scoping exercise to develop options for the proposed structure of the scheme. This process will include examination of proposed obligation rates, scalability, and costs to the consumer. It is intended that a technical consultation will then be undertaken in Q1 2023, to directly inform the final design of the scheme.

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