Bioenergy plays key role in renewable heat plan for Ireland

Renewable Energy Ireland (REI) has published 40by30, a roadmap to achieve 40% of heat from renewable sources in Ireland by 2030.

The plan was developed by XD Consulting on behalf of REI with advice from organisations working in district heating, bioenergy, heat pumps, renewable gas, and geothermal. The plan would reduce Ireland’s CO2 emissions by 7% annually, in line with the Climate Action Bill.

The 40by30 roadmap shows that 40% of Ireland’s heat can be provided by renewable sources primarily from 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 its part in delivering the ambition of a 7% 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% renewable heat target by 2030 in the revised Climate Action Plan.”

The report identifies several urgent policy interventions required from government and industry to deliver 40by30, 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 (RED II) 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 the Support Scheme for Renewable Heat (SSRH) and incentivise large heat users to adopt renewable heat solutions.

Xavier Dubuisson, report author of XD Consulting, commented: “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, full-time jobs over this decade.”

Paddy Phelan, president of the Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA), said the association is “delighted” to support the roadmap.

“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,” he said.

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