Heat-related greenhouse emissions from the use of fossil fuels in our homes, businesses and industry accounted for 13.1 MtCO2 of emissions in 2021, which is equivalent to 37% of total energy-related emissions or 21% of total national greenhouse gas emissions. Despite efforts to add insulation and install more efficient technology, Ireland continues to have an excessive dependence on fossil fuels for heating.
Primarily due to economic growth, emissions from heating have risen 12% from post-recession lows of 2014. The renewable share of this heat was 5.2% in 2021, down from 6.3% in 2020. This trend must be reversed immediately if the heat sector is to meet its share of the required emissions reductions.
The Climate Action and Low Carbon Development (Amendment) Act 2021 commits Ireland to reach a legally binding target of net-zero emissions no later than 2050, and a cut of 51% by 2030 (compared to 2018 levels). These targets are aligned with Ireland’s obligations under the Paris Agreement, which aims to limit global temperature increases by restricting the total amount of greenhouse gas emissions emitted into the atmosphere. They are also consistent with the EU Green Deal objective to achieve an economy-wide reduction in greenhouse gases of at least 55% by 2030 and to achieve climate neutrality in the European Union by 2050.
Ireland’s new binding renewable targets out to 2030 will be set out in Ireland’s next National Energy and Climate Plan, as part of Ireland’s contribution to European level renewable energy targets. It is clear delivery will require a major ramp up in key decarbonisation activities across all sectors and full societal engagement, supported by Government.
A Renewable Heat Obligation
Government has agreed to the introduction of an Obligation in the heat sector by 2024. This Obligation will incentivise suppliers of fossil fuels used for heat to ensure a proportion of the energy they supply is renewable. Renewable Fuels are fuels produced from renewable resources rather than fossil fuels. As Ireland imports most of its fossil fuels, the heating sector is a significant contributor to Ireland’s high energy import dependency. The Obligation will help reduce our reliance on imported fossil fuels and strengthen our energy security.
Purpose of the consultation
Using feedback from our previous consultation in 2021, the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications has carried out an initial scoping exercise to examine potential Obligation structures and parameters. The focus of this consultation is to seek feedback on these parameters to help inform the final design of the Renewable Heat Obligation.
The Department is committed to engaging with stakeholders in a clear, open, and transparent manner. Positions set out in this consultation are proposed positions only. No decisions have been made in relation to the final structure of the Obligation or how it would be introduced. Feedback received will directly inform any decisions taken as part of the development and design process.
We are committed to engaging with stakeholders in a clear, open and transparent manner. Any person or organisation can make a submission in relation to this consultation. All submissions and feedback will be considered and directly inform the final design of the Renewable Heat Obligation.
Please note that responses to this consultation are subject to the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 2014 (FOI), Access to Information on the Environment Regulations 2007-2018 (AIE) and the Data Protection Act 2018.
Please also note that the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications may publish the contents of all submissions received to our consultations on our website. We will redact personal data prior to publication. In responding to this consultation, parties should clearly indicate where their responses contain commercially sensitive information or confidential information which they would not wish to be released under FOI, AIE or otherwise published.
We would like to draw your attention to our Data Privacy Notice which explains how and when we collect personal data, why we do so and how we treat this information. It also explains your rights in relation to the collection of personal information and how you can exercise those rights.