Support Scheme for Renewable Heat- Ireland

The National “Support Scheme for Renewable Heat” (SSRH) will allow firms who generate heat from renewable sources to receive substantial ongoing payments. The Republic’s scheme is designed to support financially the replacement of fossil fuel heating systems with renewable energy for “heat demand from non-domestic users”.

It covers commercial, industrial, agricultural, district heating, public sector and other non-domestic businesses and sectors. The aviation sector, large industrial plants and power generation companies are excluded. The Support Scheme for Renewable Heat is a tangible and viable measure that will kick-start the biomass and biogas sectors. Crucially, it will provide the basis to create new commercial opportunities for farmers in heat technologies, including biomass boiler installations, and new opportunities for foresters.

Energy & Emission Reduction

The Scheme will also contribute to meeting Ireland’s 2020 renewable energy and emission reduction targets. Under the 2009 Renewable Energy Directive, Ireland’s target is to deliver 12 per cent of energy consumed in the heat sector from renewable energy sources by 2020. Currently, 6.8 per cent of the energy consumed in the heat sector is renewable. Budget 2018 allocated €7 million to fund the initial phase in 2018. The scheme is designed to ensure air quality impacts will be addressed to support sustainable biomass use in installations, using best available technology and emission abatement.

Support Scheme for Renewable Heat

The scheme will be financially supported in one of two ways.

  • An ongoing operational support (paid for a period up to 15 years) for new installations or installations that currently use a fossil fuel heating system and convert to using biomass heating systems or anaerobic digestion heating systems;
  • A grant (up to 30 per cent) to support investment in renewable heating systems that use heat pumps.

Budgetary control

There are eligibility criteria that projects must conform to over the period of support payments. These will ensure heat generated under the scheme is applied to useful purposes only. In addition, there are a number of budgetary controls to control overall costs including project budget caps, a scheme budget cap and periodic reviews to prevent windfall gains. The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) will administer the scheme and develop detailed terms and conditions, including eligibility and sustainability criteria.

The Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) welcomed the “long-awaited” scheme. “After much lobbying activities and design consultations by IrBEA and other players in the bioenergy sector, biomass industry will now see a renewable heat initiative scheme live in 2018,” said its chief executive Ger Devlin. The sector had been stagnant for almost five years in Ireland, he said, and many Irish companies had subsequently gone out of business. More information can be found here: https://www.seai.ie/sustainable-solutions/support-scheme-renewable-/