Government to introduce grants and support scheme to encourage switch to renewable energy
The Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Denis Naughten TD is to introduce a national support scheme for renewable heat following Government approval of the scheme.
The purpose of the scheme is to provide financial support for the replacement of fossil fuel heating systems with renewable energy for non-domestic users.
The Government has allocated €7m in next year's budget to fund the initial phase of the scheme in 2018.
Commercial, industrial, agricultural, district heating, public sector and other non-domestic businesses and sectors will be covered under the scheme.
Describing the programme as "a tangible and viable measure" that will kick-start the biomass and biogas sectors, Minister Naughten said that it would provide the basis to create new commercial opportunities for farmers in heat technologies including biomass boiler installations and new opportunities for foresters.
"It will also contribute to meeting Ireland’s 2020 renewable energy and emission reduction targets," Minister Naughten said.
Under the 2009 Renewable Energy Directive, Ireland has a target of 12pc of energy consumed in the heat sector to come from renewable energy sources by 2020.
However, currently Ireland is just over half-way towards reaching that target, with just 6.8pc of energy consumed in the heat sector coming from renewables.
The development of the scheme involved detailed economic analysis, extensive engagement with industry and the publication of two public consultations on the design and implementation of the scheme.
"My Department received almost 200 submissions from the public and the final design of the scheme incorporates the findings from these submissions," Minister Naughten said.
There will be two types of support under the scheme; on-going operational support for installations that currently use a fossil fuel heating system and convert to using biomass heating systems or anaerobic digestion heating systems. And a grant of up to 30pc to support investment in renewable heating systems that use heat pumps.
Other technologies and methods of support are under consideration, including biomethane grid injection, for subsequent phases of the scheme.