IrDEA today made a submission in response to the Public consultation on Ireland’s current Long-term Strategy for Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reductions carried out by the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications.
In its submission, IrDEA urged the Department to refine certain aspects of the Strategy, 'to better reflect the future role of district energy in achieving our 2050 net zero emissions targets'.
The current long-term strategy intersperses district energy as a source of heat decarbonisation alongside other options, particularly heat pumps. While IrDEA emphasised that is incredibly welcome to see district energy incorporated in this way, we are keen to ensure clarity and consistency in the strategy with respect to decarbonising heating and cooling. This is vital to support the scaling up of the district energy sector, which in turn is essential to achieving our long-term greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets.
To achieve this, IrDEA recommended the following changes to the strategy:
- Identify and amend or remove any indication that one heat decarbonisation technology be favoured over others as part of the Long-term Strategy. Or, state that district energy is the preferred option in high heat density areas, with heat pumps being preferred in low to medium heat density areas.
- Ensure that district energy is incorporated into the Long-term Strategy wherever the decarbonisation of heating and cooling is considered. This must be done to integrate the finding of the SEAI National Heat Study (2022) that approx. 50% of the current building stock is suitable for district energy. To do otherwise would weaken the Strategy and its function in setting out the broad pathway that must be followed to achieve our net zero emissions goals.
- Disaggregate the inherent linkage between retrofitting and heat pumps to ensure other heating and cooling options are incentivised where most appropriate as part of district level retrofitting initiatives. Provide for decarbonised heating and cooling through means other than electrification where retrofitting is spoken of to ensure that district energy is considered and incentivised for use where heat demand densities justify it as the preferred option.
IrDEA concluded in stating,
If we are to achieve net zero emissions, it is vital to use every available technology and resource at our disposal. The science is clear that reducing emissions quickly will have the most positive impact on managing and mitigating the excesses of human induced climate change. As the heating sector lags so far behind in Ireland’s efforts to decarbonise, we must put particular focus on finding deliverable solutions that can be rolled out as quickly as possible. This must include placing district energy on a par with solutions like heat pumps given its capacity to deliver decarbonised heat to up to 50% of Ireland’s current building stock in addition to future constructions in areas with suitable levels of heat demand.
Download the full submission here:
IrDEASubmission_Ireland’s current Long-term Strategy for Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reductions_07Jul2023.pdf