Ireland has launched a consultation to seek views from interested parties on the potential introduction of a new Renewable Heat Obligation (RHI) scheme.
If introduced, it would require energy suppliers in the heat sector, including oil, liquid petroleum gas (LPG), natural gas, coal and peat, to ensure a certain proportion of the energy they provide is renewable.
It will incentivise the use of renewable heat while spreading the obligation across all non-renewable fuel types, helping distribute the cost impact over all consumers of non-renewable fuels and therefore not placing the financial burden on one particular sub-sector or area.
Currently in Ireland, 6.3% of heat sector demand is met by energy from renewable sources, such as biomass and biogas.
This is the lowest percentage of any member state and well below the EU average of 22%.
The Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications believes while some progress is being made in terms of increasing the use of renewable heat, more needs to be done.
Ireland also did not meet its 2020 target of 16% for renewable energy and performed poorly in terms of renewable energy use in the heat sector.
The overall objective of an RHI would be to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the heat sector though increased use of renewable energy – contributing to the government’s target of a 51% reduction in emissions by 2030 and net zero emissions by 2050.
The consultation, open until 1st October 2021, will inform the decision on whether and how such an obligation might be implemented in the coming years.