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Irish District Energy Association

Supporting and Promoting District Heating and Cooling in Ireland


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  • 23 May 2024 16:15 | Anonymous

    Call for Significant State Investment to Kick-Start the District Energy Sector

    Pictured in Croke Park at the launch of a new report by the IrDEA (Irish District Energy Association), that shows district energy is an option for two thirds of the Irish population, are Minister Eamon Ryan and members of Irish District Energy Association, who authored the report. (L-R) Colm McAvinchey, Kingspan-Logstor, Donna Gartland, Founder and Director of IrDEA & CEO of CODEMA, David Connolly, Founder and Chairperson of IrDEA and Founder & CEO of Heatgrid Ireland, Yvonne Murphy, CEO of IrDEA, Bill Carbery, Development Manager Ireland, Danfoss and Fintan Lyons, Managing Director, Kaizen Energy. Photo: Barry Cronin

    PRESS RELEASE | 23 May 2024

    Minister for the Environment, Eamon Ryan today launched new reports from the Irish District Energy Association (IrDEA). The reports show that district energy is the most economically viable low carbon heating option for 64% of the Irish population.

    They also compare the rollout of the technology in six European countries, using this as the basis for recommendations on policies needed to deliver district energy to Irish consumers quickly and at scale. Recommendations include consumer protection measures, and rules on planning and licensing, among others.

    District energy networks distribute water, which has been heated at a local energy centre, to buildings through a network of insulated underground pipes eliminating the need for fossil fuels and individual boilers. The benefits include improved energy security, efficiency savings, affordability, better air quality and employment opportunities.

    According to IrDEA, the reports make the case for significant state investment to kick-start the sector, which has been tasked with delivering enough heat for 200,000 homes and 2,500 public buildings by 2030, which equates to 10% of building heat demand.

    Though well proven in other countries, district energy is not yet common in Ireland. Less than 1% of building heat demand is currently met this way, most commonly through communal schemes. According to the reports launched by Minister Ryan today, this is the most economical way of meeting the heat demand of 67% of buildings across Ireland.

    Speaking at the launch, Minister Eamon Ryan said:

    The government is committed to accelerating building heat decarbonisation. District energy is a proven technology, with millions of customers across Europe and beyond, and it can play a key role in improving energy efficiency and reducing emissions in Ireland. That is why we have committed to clear Climate Action Plan targets to deliver up to 2.7 terawatt hours (TWh) of district energy capacity by 2030. I am encouraged to note that this research from IrDEA aligns with the broader policy direction for district heating and I welcome the support of the industry for the Government’s decarbonisation programme.


    Irish District Energy Association CEO,Yvonne Murphy said:

    Around 70% of heat demand in countries like Denmark and Sweden is met with district energy right now; Europe-wide, 30 million households and 70 million people rely on district energy. It is a well proven technology that is available right now for deployment in Ireland. There has been a growing commitment by government to using district energy as a key part of its heat dearbonisation strategy, which has been incredibly encouraging for the sector. But we need solid action now to get moving in time to reach our 2030 targets.

    Today, IrDEA is launching this research to set out a roadmap for delivering district energy to the almost two thirds of Ireland’s population for whom it would be the most affordable low-carbon heating option. Our key ask today is upfront investment of €1billion in state subsidies to help make that happen.


    David Connolly, Chairperson, and founder of IrDEA added,

    Two decades ago, widespread generation of wind-powered electricity seemed far-fetched to many. Now, after a concerted effort, it’s a natural part of our energy supply chain. The same can happen with district heating. The system can use any source of energy including renewable electricity or surplus heat from industry or cooling processes, which is a real game changer as we reduce our reliance on imported oil and gas.

    The key barrier we face as a sector now is the lack of a mechanism to draw down government funding to help finance the rollout of projects. We’re optimistic that if the financing barrier is addressed quickly, we could start to see projects materialise in the next 12 to 24 months. According to our research, an investment of around €1billion in the next couple of years could unlock the potential of the sector to deliver affordable, low-carbon heat to consumers across Ireland.


    The Irish District Energy Association is a trade organisation that supports and promotes the growth of the district heating and cooling sector in Ireland. The not-for-profit company has members from across the public, private and academic sectors.

    For more information about district energy and to read the roadmap visit Policy

    ++ENDS++

     


    For more information, or to arrange an interview, please contact:

    Mary O’Neill, Healy Communications on behalf of irDEA

    087 4057437 or mary@healycommunications.ie

    Notes to Editor

    ● European countries that have achieved the highest shares of renewable heat have relied heavily on district energy to achieve this – they include Sweden, which boasts a renewable heat share of 68.6%, Estonia (61.3%), Latvia (57.4%), Finland (52.6%), and Denmark (51%). By contrast, Ireland currently has the lowest renewable heat share in Europe at 5.2% (Eurostat, 2023), with less than 1% of heat demand being met by district energy (SEAI, 2022).

    ● The Tallaght District Heating Scheme was launched in April 2023 and is the only district heating network of scale in the country. It uses excess heat from the local Amazon Web Services datacentre, to heat water and send it through an underground network of insulated pipes to South Dublin County Council buildings and the TUD Tallaght campus.

    ● Both reports were produced with research and analytical support from Gemserv Ltd.


  • 16 Feb 2024 17:31 | Anonymous




    IrDEA today submitted its response to the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU) on the proposed National Energy Demand Strategy.


    In its submission, IrDEA outlines its view of the critical role district energy systems can play in achieving national decarbonization goals and enhancing energy system flexibility.

    The submission highlights three core areas where district energy can significantly contribute to Ireland’s energy strategy:

    • System flexibility
    • Demand reduction, and 
    • Decarbonized heat delivery
    Commenting on the submission, IrDEA CEO Yvonne Murphy said,

    By leveraging thermal energy storage (TES) and combined heat and power (CHP) technologies, district energy systems offer a robust solution for managing energy demand, reducing emissions, and stabilizing energy prices. It is a key linking technology that will allow Ireland to resolve a range of challenges we currently face in both the heat and electricity markets. And, we're keen to see all possible steps taken to roll out the technology across Ireland as soon as possible.


    IrDEA’s consultation response sets ambitious targets for the adoption of district energy, aiming to supply heat equivalent to 200,000 homes by 2030. It argues for the integration of district energy into the National Energy Demand Strategy to ensure a cohesive approach to decarbonization, energy efficiency, and system resilience.

    Murphy went on to say,

    We urge policymakers to recognize the value of district energy in achieving Ireland’s climate action targets in all key policy documents. While great strides have been made in documents such as the Climate Action Plan 2023 (and 2024) it is vital that all policy instruments are set on the same path. This requires a strategic revision of the current energy strategy to include district energy as a key component of Ireland's demand management planning process. 

    According to the organisation, IrDEA’s submission is a call to action for Ireland to embrace district energy as a pivotal element of the country's energy future, ensuring a sustainable, efficient, and resilient energy system for generations to come.

    Ends


    Download and view full submission here.


  • 14 Feb 2024 17:52 | Anonymous




    IrDEA outlines the demand flexibility benefits of district energy systems in its submission to the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU) on a proposed ESB Networks Demand Flexibility Procurement Process as part of its public consultation process.

    The Irish District Energy Association (IrDEA) has today made a submission responding to the ESB Networks Demand Flexibility Consultation call for responses.

    Emphasizing the enormous potential of Thermal Energy Storage (TES) for enhancing grid flexibility and sustainability, IrDEA CEO, Yvonne Murphy commented,

    IrDEA views the proposal to procure demand flexibility for Ireland’s electricity grid as a key opportunity to integrate district energy systems into Ireland's energy market. One of the lesser publicised strengths of district energy systems is their ability to link the electricity and heat markets to one another, offering signficiant flexibility energy storage options that are well proven, cost effective, and well within financial and technological reach here in Ireland.

    As part of its submission, IrDEA advocated for policies that support multi-market participation of flexible assets, emphasising that district energy, through TES, can significantly contribute to demand reduction, shift, and grid stability, ultimately reducing carbon emissions and supporting Ireland's renewable energy goals.

    With several key recommendations submitted as part of this consultation response, IrDEA has aimed to highlight the need to consider the unique benefits and capabilities of district energy solutions as part of the design and rollout of this procurement process.

    Ms Murphy concluded in stating,

    For me, a systems based approach is crucial to achieving our net zero goals. We must tackle waste by improving efficiency and systems integration, both of which are benefits that district energy can bring to the Irish heat and electricity markets.

    Ends


    Download the full submission here.


  • 27 Oct 2023 18:00 | Anonymous

    The Irish District Energy Association (IrDEA) hosted its annual conference in Dublin on October 26, 2023.

    The key annual event for Ireland's district energy sector saw an unprecedented level of engagement and attendance from industry actors, reflecting the commitment to working towards sustainable energy solutions in Ireland.

    The presence of Eamon Ryan TD, Minister for Environment, Climate and Communications along with key officials from his Department, including the Heat Policy Team led by Barry Quinlan, and senior leaders from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland underscored the significant support for the district energy sector from the highest levels of government. 

    Their positive statements of support have further energised a sector, which is very much on the rise in Ireland.

    IrDEA extends its heartfelt thanks to all participants, speakers, and supporters who contributed to the conference's success.

    We would also like to thank our sponsors in particular, without whom we could not host such an important event for the sector. They are:

    Main Sponsors
    • Department of Environment, Climate and Communications
    • Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland
    Supporting Sponsors
    • Danfoss
    • Hevac
    • Kingspan Logstor
    • Xylem
    • Zero Friction


    This event not only facilitated meaningful discussions and networking opportunities but also demonstrated the collective resolve to advance Ireland's heat transition through district energy.

    Ends

    ________________________________________________

    About the Event

    The IrDEA Annual Conference 2023 is a must-attend event for anyone interested in district heating and its vital role in transforming Ireland's heating sector to low-carbon. This year's conference will bring together industry leaders, policymakers, researchers, energy sector representatives, and public bodies - among others - to share insights, foster collaborations, and drive innovation within the Irish district heating landscape.

    Key Highlights
    • Keynote Address from the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan TD.
    • Thought-Provoking Presentations: Gain valuable insights from renowned experts in district heating who will address the current challenges, trends, and opportunities shaping the industry.
    • Engaging Panel Discussions: Participate in lively panel discussions featuring industry pioneers, researchers, and policymakers, where they will discuss the latest advancements, policy frameworks, and best practices in the field of district heating.
    • Technical Aspects and Case Studies: Delve into the technical aspects of district heating and learn about cutting-edge technologies, innovative solutions, and successful case studies from across Ireland and beyond.
    • Networking Opportunities: Connect with a diverse group of professionals, including district heating practitioners, government bodies, local authority staff and other public bodies, energy sector representatives, and researchers, to expand your professional network and explore potential collaborations.
    Speakers

    We have a great range of speakers planned, with more being added to the line-up. Speakers to date include:

    Who Attended

    The IrDEA Annual Conference 2023 was designed for professionals and organisations involved or interested in district heating, including but not limited to:

    • Energy providers and utilities
    • Government representatives and policymakers
    • Local authority staff and other public bodies
    • Engineers, architects, and urban planners
    • Energy consultants and researchers
    • Technology providers and equipment manufacturers
    • Sustainable development organisations
    • Financial institutions and investors
    • Students and academia


    Sponsors

    This event is kindly supported by


  • 24 Oct 2023 16:31 | Anonymous

    With just two days left until Ireland's leading District Energy event is due to take place we are issuing a final call for anyone that would like to register. 

    Click here for full programme.

    Join us for an enlightening and engaging event where professionals, experts, and enthusiasts gather to explore the latest advancements, trends and opportunities in the district heating sector in Ireland and abroad.

    • Date: Thursday, 26th October 2023
    • Time: 08:30am - 4:30pm
    • Location & Format: Camden Court Hotel, Dublin City Centre. Fully in-person event.

    The IrDEA Annual Conference 2023 is a must-attend event for anyone interested in district heating and its vital role in transforming Ireland's heating sector to low-carbon. This year's conference will bring together industry leaders, policymakers, researchers, energy sector representatives, and public bodies - among others - to share insights, foster collaborations, and drive innovation within the Irish district heating landscape.

    Click here to book your ticket now.


    Key Highlights:

    • Keynote Address from the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan TD.
    • Thought-Provoking Presentations: Gain valuable insights from renowned experts in district heating who will address the current challenges, trends, and opportunities shaping the industry.
    • Engaging Panel Discussions: Participate in lively panel discussions featuring industry pioneers, researchers, and policymakers, where they will discuss the latest advancements, policy frameworks, and best practices in the field of district heating.
    • Technical Aspects and Case Studies: Delve into the technical aspects of district heating and learn about cutting-edge technologies, innovative solutions, and successful case studies from across Ireland and beyond.
    • Networking Opportunities: Connect with a diverse group of professionals, including district heating practitioners, government bodies, local authority staff and other public bodies, energy sector representatives, and researchers, to expand your professional network and explore potential collaborations.

    Speakers

    We have a great range of speakers confirmed, which include:

    V iew all the speakers.

    Who Should Attend:

    The IrDEA Annual Conference 2023 is designed for professionals and organisations involved or interested in district heating, including but not limited to:

    • Energy providers and utilities
    • Government representatives and policymakers
    • L ocal authority staff and other public bodies
    • Engineers, architects, and urban planners
    • Energy consultants and researchers
    • Technology providers and equipment manufacturers
    • Sustainable development organisations
    • Financial institutions and investors
    • Students and academia

    Join us at the Irish District Energy Association Annual Conference 2023 and be part of the transformative conversations, knowledge exchange, and collaborative initiatives that will shape the future of the low-carbon heating sector Ireland towards 2030 and beyond.

    Tickets are now on sale and last year's conference was sold out, so be sure to secure your spot today!

    Please note that photographs will be taken during the conference and some photos may be published publicly on social media, websites, etc.

    Sponsors


  • 13 Oct 2023 19:15 | Anonymous

    Public Consultation Response

    IrDEA has responded to the government's updated proposal on the Renewable Heat Obligation (RHO). 

    Commenting on the RHO, IrDEA had this to say,

    As set out in our submission to the original consultation on the Renewable Heat Obligation (RHO) in October 2021, IrDEA and its members fully support the introduction of the RHO and we welcome the opportunity to engage in this follow-up consultation.

    Supporting investment and development in renewable heat is a policy imperative for the national transition to a low-carbon, climate resilient, circular economy. With a renewable heat share of just 5.2%, Ireland is currently ranked last among our European counterparts (Eurostat, 2023b). This must change for Ireland to meet its 2030 and 2050 decarbonisation obligations.

    We view the RHO as a much-needed policy lever to incentivise change within an overly fossil-dependent heat sector. However, IrDEA is concerned that district energy has not been named as an eligible source of RHO credits. Such an oversight is a wasted opportunity to see that the RHO aligns with the Climate Action Plan 2023 goal to redirect the heat sector to a combination of district energy and heat pumps by 2050. Every conceivable opportunity must be taken to promote the establishment and growth of district energy systems across the country. One way to do that is to allow district energy networks to sell RHO credits as an income source that could then be invested in the further growth of networks.

    IrDEA is hopeful that this submission will help to convince those determining the final make-up of the RHO to reconsider including district energy in the RHO credit system and, in so doing, help to incentivise the heat sector to shift towards its incorporation into their plans for future evolution.

    View or download the full submission at this link.

  • 10 Oct 2023 15:26 | Anonymous

    Press Release, Irish District Energy Association, 10/10/2023

    The Irish District Energy Association today welcomed the creation of a new Infrastructure, Climate and Nature Fund as part of Budget 2024.

    While detail is yet to emerge on exactly how the fund will operate and the types of projects it will support, the cumulative scale of the €14bn fund and its focus is ‘cause for optimism’, according to the sectoral interest group. Speaking on behalf of IrDEA, CEO Yvonne Murphy stated,

    We have been advocating for a significant boost in the level and kind of funding available from the State to support capital projects of the scale needed to tackle decarbonisation in the heating sector. Naturally, we await further detail on how this fund will operate, but our initial impression of this announcement is a very positive one.

    The organisation highlighted that the time for minor interventions has passed for Ireland as the country is currently on track to achieve less than 10% of the Climate Action Plan target of 2700 GWh for 2030. Murphy warned,

    We cannot afford to wait, which is why it was so important that Budget 2024 was seen to deliver the resources needed to kick-start district energy in Ireland. There are additional areas of spending that we still wish to see addressed and it seems this fund is unlikely to deliver all the funding we believe the sector needs. But today's budget acknowledged the need to invest in the capital projects to achieve our decarbonisation commitments. That must be welcomed.

    The district energy sector is poised to invest up to €2bn between now and 2030 to serve heat demand equivalent to 200,000 homes. We currently boast less than 20 GWh of district energy in Ireland.

    Ms Murphy concluded by stating,

    Strong market signals are needed on the part of government to demonstrate that the State is behind the sector and is committed to district energy into the long term. This will help to build confidence within the sector, which will help to trigger investment. This fund has the potential to help with that if it is correctly focused and can be accessed to support district energy projects. We await further detail with great hope that this is the case.

    View or download IrDEA's Pre-Budget Submission 

    Summary of IRDEA Budget 2024 proposals

    (VIEW OR DOWNLOAD FULL PRE-BUDGET SUBMISSION)


    IrDEA’s total ask for Budget 2024 was €389.5m per year, which would be used to provide for district energy under three headings,

    • Resource public sector bodies tasked with facilitating delivery of district energy (€6.35m)

    This is chiefly to increase staffing in Local Authorities, SEAI, CRU, and the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications to ensure capacity exists to drive district energy forward.

    • Match private sector capital infrastructure investment (€333m)

    District energy infrastructure is a long-term investment, with piping lasting over 50 years before replacement. Allowing for private sector innovation and agility is important to get projects off the ground, but State support for infrastructure is also important given the public good it serves by keeping end use energy prices affordable and creating certainty in the market.

    • Protect early adopter consumers with a new Heat Cost Protection Scheme (€50m).
      1. Modern district energy schemes rely on largescale heat pumps to raise the temperature of waste heat to the threshold needed to supply heat to consumers. This requires electricity.
      2. As electricity prices are set by the most expensive oil or gas unit available in the wholesale market, it is difficult for electricity-based heat to compete with gas, which is generally more affordable.
      3. Good news is, district energy is more efficient, so less power is used, which keeps prices down.
      4. To keep electricity prices less than double those of gas, IrDEA suggests that government put in place a sinking fund of €50m per year to be put aside in the event of an electricity price spike.
      5. This money would only be deployed in a rare and extreme situation, so it would simply need to be available in the event of such a circumstance.
      6. This money would be used to create a price control buffer for customers to shield them from the worst excess of an electricity price spike should it arise. It is not a blank cheque and would be limited to this amount.
    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Notes to the Editor

    Why we need to decarbonise heat.

    Heat accounted for 41.8% of final energy demand in 2021, this compares to transport at 36.1% and electricity 22.1% (SEAI, 2022). In 2022, only 5.2% of heat produced in Ireland came from renewable sources, this is the lowest renewable heat share in Europe (Eurostat, 2023a, 2023b). Although Ireland has made great strides in developing renewable electricity, we have outright failed to make progress on renewable heat.

    The plan to decarbonise heat.

    The Climate Action Plan 2023 sets out that government intends to move us to a heat system run on a combination of heat pumps and district energy(Government of Ireland, 2022). In simple terms, this would mean using heat pumps in areas of low building and heat demand density, and district energy in areas of medium to high heat demand density, such as villages, towns, and cities. This would help to maximise efficiency and affordability in the heat sector, as where the heat demand exists, district energy is a more affordable option than heat pumps, but heat pumps are agile enough to cater to the needs of customers in, for example, one off houses.

    District energy in brief.

    District energy is well proven as an affordable, local source of decarbonised heat. One of its key benefits is that it can run off any energy source that can heat water; this means it can run off a range of renewable and waste heat sources, and often systems incorporate several heat sources to ensure adaptability and optimised cost effectiveness.

    Insulated tanks or pits filled with water that range in size from domestic hot water tanks to large pits occupying surface areas equivalent to or bigger than football fields are used as energy storage in district energy systems. The water in the storage system is heated when energy is abundant or cheap, allowing for greater savings and efficiency to be delivered to consumers. At the longest duration, solar arrays are used in some sites to capture heat in summer for use in the winter as a source of heat for buildings.

    Sources Cited

    Eurostat. (2023a). Heating and cooling from renewables gradually increasing. https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/web/products-eurostat-news/w/DDN-20230203-1#:~:text=As%20a%20result%2C%20the%20share,value%20in%202004%20(11.7%25).

    Eurostat. (2023b). Renewable energy statistics. https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php?title=Renewable_energy_statistics

    Government of Ireland. (2022). Climate Action Plan 2023. https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/7bd8c-climate-action-plan-2023/

    SEAI. (2022). National Heat Study: District Heating and Cooling. https://www.seai.ie/publications/District-Heating-and-Cooling.pdf


  • 1 Oct 2023 13:16 | Anonymous


    Summary of IRDEA Budget 2024 proposals

    (VIEW OR DOWNLOAD FULL PRE-BUDGET SUBMISSION)


    IrDEA’s total ask for Budget 2024 was €389.5m per year, which would be used to provide for district energy under three headings,

    • Resource public sector bodies tasked with facilitating delivery of district energy (€6.35m)

    This is chiefly to increase staffing in Local Authorities, SEAI, CRU, and the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications to ensure capacity exists to drive district energy forward.

    • Match private sector capital infrastructure investment (€333m)

    District energy infrastructure is a long-term investment, with piping lasting over 50 years before replacement. Allowing for private sector innovation and agility is important to get projects off the ground, but State support for infrastructure is also important given the public good it serves by keeping end use energy prices affordable and creating certainty in the market.

    • Protect early adopter consumers with a new Heat Cost Protection Scheme (€50m).
      1. Modern district energy schemes rely on largescale heat pumps to raise the temperature of waste heat to the threshold needed to supply heat to consumers. This requires electricity.
      2. As electricity prices are set by the most expensive oil or gas unit available in the wholesale market, it is difficult for electricity-based heat to compete with gas, which is generally more affordable.
      3. Good news is, district energy is more efficient, so less power is used, which keeps prices down.
      4. To keep electricity prices less than double those of gas, IrDEA suggests that government put in place a sinking fund of €50m per year to be put aside in the event of an electricity price spike.
      5. This money would only be deployed in a rare and extreme situation, so it would simply need to be available in the event of such a circumstance.
      6. This money would be used to create a price control buffer for customers to shield them from the worst excess of an electricity price spike should it arise. It is not a blank cheque and would be limited to this amount.
    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Notes

    Why we need to decarbonise heat.

    Heat accounted for 41.8% of final energy demand in 2021, this compares to transport at 36.1% and electricity 22.1% (SEAI, 2022). In 2022, only 5.2% of heat produced in Ireland came from renewable sources, this is the lowest renewable heat share in Europe (Eurostat, 2023a, 2023b). Although Ireland has made great strides in developing renewable electricity, we have outright failed to make progress on renewable heat.

    The plan to decarbonise heat.

    The Climate Action Plan 2023 sets out that government intends to move us to a heat system run on a combination of heat pumps and district energy(Government of Ireland, 2022). In simple terms, this would mean using heat pumps in areas of low building and heat demand density, and district energy in areas of medium to high heat demand density, such as villages, towns, and cities. This would help to maximise efficiency and affordability in the heat sector, as where the heat demand exists, district energy is a more affordable option than heat pumps, but heat pumps are agile enough to cater to the needs of customers in, for example, one off houses.

    District energy in brief.

    District energy is well proven as an affordable, local source of decarbonised heat. One of its key benefits is that it can run off any energy source that can heat water; this means it can run off a range of renewable and waste heat sources, and often systems incorporate several heat sources to ensure adaptability and optimised cost effectiveness.

    Insulated tanks or pits filled with water that range in size from domestic hot water tanks to large pits occupying surface areas equivalent to or bigger than football fields are used as energy storage in district energy systems. The water in the storage system is heated when energy is abundant or cheap, allowing for greater savings and efficiency to be delivered to consumers. At the longest duration, solar arrays are used in some sites to capture heat in summer for use in the winter as a source of heat for buildings.

    Sources Cited

    Eurostat. (2023a). Heating and cooling from renewables gradually increasing. https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/web/products-eurostat-news/w/DDN-20230203-1#:~:text=As%20a%20result%2C%20the%20share,value%20in%202004%20(11.7%25).

    Eurostat. (2023b). Renewable energy statistics. https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php?title=Renewable_energy_statistics

    Government of Ireland. (2022). Climate Action Plan 2023. https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/7bd8c-climate-action-plan-2023/

    SEAI. (2022). National Heat Study: District Heating and Cooling. https://www.seai.ie/publications/District-Heating-and-Cooling.pdf


  • 20 Sep 2023 08:00 | Anonymous

    The Irish District Energy Association (IrDEA) today voiced concern over the latest Gas Network Price Control review (GNI PC5).

    The comments came in relation to the recent public consultation held as part of the review and the sectoral group’s submission to that process. (Full submission available here).

    Assumption of growing demand for gas

    The group drew particular attention to the lack of consistency with national and international policy, which is set on a move away from fossil fuel dependency and towards renewables. Highlighting that the nuts and bolts of policy delivery must align with that overall goal, IrDEA called for mechanisms like the GNI price control to be used as tools to drive that change.

    Speaking on the matter, an IrDEA Spokesperson stated,

    We are very concerned that the business-as-usual approach adopted in the PC5 fails to incentivise change on the part of Gas Networks Ireland when it comes to continued gas grid expansion. This must be addressed as a matter of urgency to really get moving on building a pathway to renewable sources of flexible electricity generation, and renewable heat generation and distribution.

    __________________________________________

    IrDEA expressed further concern at the assumption that the demand and need for gas will continue to grow in line with projections made by Gas Networks Ireland (GNI). Government and industry are pushing to achieve 80% renewable electricity by the end of the decade, which will greatly reduce the market share GNI can compete for in terms of electricity generation and that needs to be factored into all scenarios.

    On this, the organisation said,

    There is a clear policy commitment to pivot to district energy and heat pumps for heating by 2050. If we are serious about achieving that, we must start now. The PC5 is an important mechanism that could help with this, but unfortunately it misses the mark in its current form. We urge that it be revised now to avoid prolonging our dependency on gas and help deliver decarbonised heating as soon as possible.

    __________________________________________

    IrDEA went on to say,

    The idea that the PC5 continues to promote the expansion of the gas network through the connection incentive is truly astonishing at a time when we need to plan for the eventual decommissioning of the gas grid. It is true that gas will continue to provide back-up for our electricity and heating systems until alternatives can be put in place, but to continue expanding beyond this is incredibly problematic. No slow-down in gas grid expansion appears to be envisioned in the PC5, which is very worrying from a decarbonisation and energy transition standpoint.


    The sectoral group concluded in highlighting the importance of investing in decarbonised solutions to heating and electricity as soon as possible to ensure Ireland has a robust, secure, and safe supply of energy that serves the people of Ireland in every way needed, including in environmental terms.


  • 26 Jul 2023 16:33 | Anonymous

    Today, government published the much anticipated District Heating Steering Group Report 2023, which makes 11 recommendations on how government should support the growth and development of the district energy sector in Ireland.

    Commenting in response to the launch of the Report, Yvonne Murphy, CEO of the Irish District Energy said,

    The District Heating Steering Group Report is a key moment for the district energy sector in Ireland. Its recommendations on financing, consumer inducement and protections, regulation, and planning and consenting, among other elements, send a clear signal to the market that Ireland is committed to district energy as a key driver of decarbonised heat. This is hugely welcome.


    The National Heat Study produced by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland in 2022 demonstrates the potential for up to 54% of heat in buildings to be supplied by district heating. A proven technology in widespread use across many European countries since the 1970s, district heating is a key component Ireland's plans to decarbonise the built environment, diversify fuel sources for heat, and improve quality of life.

    Countries like Sweden, Finland, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, and Denmark have both the highest levels of renewable heat and district energy in Europe. Each with a renewable heat share of over 40%. Ireland, on the other hand, ranks bottom in Europe with only 5.3% of heat coming from renewable sources (SEAI 2022).

    • If we meet targets set by government, approx. 200,000 homes and 2500 public/commercial buildings will be supplied with low-cost, low-carbon heat by 2030.
    • The total investment of €2.5 billion will be needed for this (€1 billion in public piping and €1.5 billion in homes/supply).
    • This investment, together with the operation, maintenance, and heat supply to district heating networks would lead to the creation of over 2,000 full-time jobs over the next decade.

    About the District Heating Steering Group

    The District Heating Steering Group was chaired by Barry Quinlan, Assistant Secretary in the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications with responsibility for Energy, and was made up of representatives from,

    • Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications (DECC)
    • Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage (DHLGH)
    • Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI)
    • Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU)
    • National Development Finance Agency
    • Dublin City Council
    • South Dublin County Council
    • Limerick City and County Council
    • City of Dublin Energy Management Agency (CoDEMA)


    IrDEA has produced a summary of the key recommendations made in the Report, which is available for download below.

    District Heating Steering Group Report 2023 - IrDEA Summary of Key Recommendations.pdf

    Recommendations of the Report

    1. Establish a National District Heating Centre of Excellence within SEAI.
    2. Local authorities to continue developing existing projects. 
    3. The District Heating Centre of Excellence should undertake detailed economic analysis to assess the feasibility of a list of measures.
    4. DECC should bring forward specific legislation for the sector.
    5. DECC and SEAI should review supports for renewable heat production.
    6. DECC and the District Heating Centre of Excellence should engage with InvestEU Advisory Hub to explore financing options.
    7. That DHLGH should strengthen the reference to district energy in key planning and development strategies.
    8. The District Heating Centre of Excellence, with DECC, should develop a Long-Term Strategy for district energy.
    9. That a national level assessment of the most suitable Candidate Areas for district energy in Ireland be completed by SEAI.
    10. Establish a funded grant programme for Feasibility Studies to allow further investigation into potential schemes.
    11. SEAI should undertake research in relation to awareness, current views, experience of current users, preferences and levels of uptake expected.


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Irish District Energy Association

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