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IrBEA welcomes relaunch of Support Scheme for Renewable Heat

IrBEA welcomes relaunch of Support Scheme for Renewable Heat
At the relaunch of the Support Scheme for Renewable Heat (SSRH) were Noel Gavigan (left), Technical Executive, and Seán Finan, CEO of Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA), and Minister for Environment, Climate and Communication Eamon Ryan T.D. (photo courtesy IrBEA).

The Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) welcomes the relaunch of the Support Scheme for Renewable Heat (SSRH) by Minister for Environment, Climate and Communication Eamon Ryan T.D. and the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI).

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Speaking at the relaunch event in Dublin, IrBEA CEO Seán Finan said that IrBEA welcomed the relaunch of the SSRH scheme for Biomass and Anaerobic Digestion heat systems.

Since the scheme opened in 2019 over 30 projects have been completed and are currently in receipt of the biomass operational aid. It is hoped that the relaunch and widening of the scheme will invigorate its mobilization and the renewable heat sector in Ireland. With a broadened scope to include Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) heat users, we strongly encourage non-domestic heat users to consider applying for this scheme and install a biomass heating system through the SSRH which will deliver long-term environmental and economic benefits, Seán Finan said.

In addition to the 30 biomass installations commissioned and receiving regular payments under the SSRH, there are 70 more in receipt of letters of offer to progress their projects.

The installations in receipt of payments are spread across the agriculture, industry, nursing homes, hotels, and leisure centre sectors.

Bioheat supports rural communities and local economies

Biomass heating is unique in supporting rural communities, delivering not only cost savings to the user but also ensuring that the money spent on fuel is distributed to local forest owners and a local supply chain.

According to Seán Finan the success of the SSRH scheme and broad uptake depends on:

  • A streamlined and efficient application and administration system within SEAI;
  • A dedicated press and promotional campaign by SEAI with assistance from stakeholders promoting solid biomass as a decarbonization option for commercial heating requirements for Irish businesses;
  • The ongoing promotion of solid biomass as a business heat decarbonization option by Minister Ryan is similar to his current strong advocacy for other technologies; and
  • Consideration of the potential need for an additional fifth tier of tariff payments to make it attractive to larger energy users to avail of the scheme in line with the broadening of the scope to the ETS sector.

Huge potential for renewable heat growth

The potential for the growth and development of the solid biomass heating sector in Ireland is huge. Europe in the last two years has seen a huge growth in the deployment of solid biomass heating technology across domestic, commercial, and industrial users.

Solid biomass is a by-product of sustainable forest management and sustainable lumber manufacturing, it is a proven, low cost and sustainable energy source, mobilized through local supply chains, providing jobs and employment opportunities in Ireland.

There is significant potential to decarbonize non-domestic heat users from fossil fuels to renewable biomass sources supported by the SSRH scheme. We welcome the proposed widening of the SSRH to the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) sector, this is currently awaiting state aid approval from the EU and needs to be approved as quickly as possible. In IrBEA, we continue to promote best practices in the solid biomass heating sector through the use of quality certified wood fuel through our Wood Fuel Quality Assurance Scheme (WFQA) and best practices by IrBEA’s register of biomass heating system designers and installers, said Noel Gavigan, Technical Executive at IrBEA.

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