Irish Heat Atlas

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IrDEA launced the all-island Heat Atlas for Ireland in 2019. It is the outcome of a research collaboration between ESB Heat and Europa-Universitat Flensburg for the purpose of preparing a geographical representation of the heating sector of Ireland.


Origins of the Heat Atlas

Developing heat supply strategies can be greatly helped by geographical and quantitative representations of heat demand and supply. This is exactly what the Heat Roadmap Europe research initiative did, with researchers from Aalborg, Halmstad and Flensburg universities developing heat atlases for European Member States using geographical information systems (GIS) and quantitative mapping.

This led to the development of the Pan-European Thermal Atlas (PETA), which in turn inspired the production of the Irish Heat Atlas.

Developing the Irish Heat Atlas

The objective of this project was to develop a heat atlas for Ireland adapted to local conditions and needs. Based on the modelling framework developed for the Pan-European Thermal Atlas 4 at the University of Flensburg, a heat atlas was designed, which can be used for regional planning and dissemination.

The Irish Heat Atlas is provided on an all-island basis; totals are provided for Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland separately, e.g. total head demand, total DH potential, etc.


Pan-European Thermal Atlas (PETA)

The Pan-European Thermal Atlas (PETA) was produced as a deliverable of the Heat Roadmap Europe Project under the Horizon 2020 framework. Peta includes heat demands, a zoning of urban and rural areas into prospective heat supply districts, cost-supply relationships for district heating, and an allocation of potential excess heat to prospective district heating systems. 

Click to visit the Heat Roadmap Europe

Data and Layers

The following list of data layers are indicative of what may be provided as part of the Irish Heat Atlas, depending on the data that can be obtained:

– Heat demands on a 100m resolution raster, but accurate to a 1 km2
– DH distribution investment costs, again on a 100m resolution raster and accurate to a 1 km2
– Delineation of prospective heat supply areas, polygon layer (i.e. will outline where DH is feasible)
– Model of DH distribution network efficiency
– Model of heat demand seasonality
– Local cost-supply curves for all prospective supply areas to identify economic DH potentials
– Allocation of potential excess heat to potential DH systems by means of network analysis
– The results will be presented in an ArcGIS Online platform, similar to the EU online platform (click to see how items 3 & 4 look)
– Place names (OSM), area, administrative structure, summary of HD by density
– Excess heat activities (>50MW fuel input) (i.e. sources of excess heat supply that the DH network can use)


Further Information

Items 1 and 5 are described in Heat Roadmap Europe: Identifying strategic heat synergy regions and Mapping the Heating and Cooling Demand in Europe 

Item 2 is described in Quantifying the Potential for District Heating and Cooling in EU Member States

Items 6-9 are described in detail in Heat Roadmap Europe: Identifying local heat demand and supply areas with a European thermal atlas


Potential for district heating in Ireland as shown by the Irish Heat Atlas

Up to 35% of the total heat demand in cities, towns, and villages in Ireland has a heat density high enough for district heating.

If government regulations (fueld taxes, grants, organisation) exist, up to 57% of all heat demand could be covered by district heating. That is the same share as in Denmark today.