Pressure from local authorities in Dublin trying to implement district heating schemes in their areas has led to the first Working Group for District Heating to be set up by the Department of Communications, Climate Action and the Environment (DCCAE). This working group, which includes many IrDEA members, has outlined the many barriers to implementing DH schemes in Ireland, and the DCCAE has committed to dealing with these issues and setting out a national DH policy framework. THE FIRST LARGE-SCALE DISTRICT HEATING SCHEMES IN IRELAND A Climate Action Fund of €500 million was announced recently by DCCAE and is the first time a national support scheme has included
DH schemes as viable projects for grant support. This is a great step forward for supporting the initiation of the DH market in Ireland. Many DH schemes which have been in planning for a long time now have applied for supports under this fund, and successful applicants will be announced early 2019. Due to the risks already outlined, many public-sector bodies, such as local authorities and college campuses, are leading the implementation of new DH schemes due to the many socio- economic and environmental benefits of DH schemes.
District Heating pipes installed under the River Liffey will transport waste heat from a nearby Waste to Energy facility in the planned Dublin City District Heating Scheme
DRIVING CHANGE TO LOW-CARBON HEAT The building stock in Ireland is now changing; there is a severe housing shortage in towns and cities, driving demand for denser developments and apartment buildings. New Irish building regulations now make it harder to utilise fossil fuels to meet heating demands. While new buildings are built to high energy efficiency standards, the existing older building stock has high heat demands and are slow to increase energy efficiency, particularly in towns and cities where there is a high level of rental properties. Ireland is struggling to meet its EU renewable energy and emission targets and are not on track to meet the 2020 or 2030 targets. Increased pressure on the government from energy and environmental groups, and importantly from the Irish Citizens Assembly, to create strong climate change policy including increases in carbon taxes, is starting to influence political decisions. DH enables the use of heat from all low-carbon sources and offers an excellent opportunity to recover energy that is currently wasted in Ireland. For example, there is currently enough heat wasted from Dublin-based power generators to supply heat to all of Dublin City, which presents a great opportunity to utilise existing indigenous energy sources to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions. Independent research, published in the International Journal of Sustainable Energy Planning and Management, has shown how DH can play a pivotal role in a 100 % renewable energy system in Ireland. The first dedicated conference, ‘Developing District Heating in Ireland´, was held in 2016 as part of a research project sponsored by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland. The benefits of DH were highlighted by Danish guest speakers from the DBDH and the Danish Embassy, and the event was well received, attracting a large interested audience of stakeholders from across the Irish Energy sector.
Figure 3: The first conference on District Heating in Ireland held in 2016 attracted a large audience
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