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Irish Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) consultation launched

The Irish Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Denis Naughten T.D. has launched the final public consultation on a Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) to incentivise industrial and commercial heat users to switch to greener technologies that produce heat from renewable sources.

The proposed RHI may provide an market upswing for domestic pellet producers.

The proposed RHI may provide an market upswing for domestic pellet producers.

The Irish Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Denis Naughten T.D. has launched the final public consultation on a Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) for Ireland to incentivise industrial and commercial heat users to switch to greener technologies that produce heat from renewable sources.

– This support scheme is aimed at incentivising a switch from fossil fuel based heating systems to renewable heating solutions, which will help Ireland meet its energy and climate change obligations, simultaneously. The promotion of renewable energy can be a driver of inclusive economic growth, creating jobs and enterprise opportunities in the rural economy as outlined in the Action Plan for Rural Development published earlier this week, said Minister Naughten.

Under the 2009 Renewable Energy Directive (RED), Ireland is committed to ensure that by 2020, 12 percent of its heating and cooling demand will come from renewable energy sources. The RHI for Ireland will be the primary support mechanism in the heating sector designed to meet Ireland’s renewable energy obligations.

– As a rural based T.D., I am fully aware that farmers in the past have explored the potential market opportunities in the bioenergy space, and many have decided not to pursue this avenue until the market was more mature. As a demand side measure, the RHI will aim to give the bioenergy and biomass sector the market in renewable heat production that is needed to encourage farmers to take the next step. However, for this intervention to be successful it is critical that supply-side policies must be aligned with the demand-side measure that my Department is developing, said the Minister.

“The more you burn the less you earn”

The RHI – Design Options and Implementation Consultation, which is open to the public and interested stakeholders, sets out a series of questions on the detailed design of the scheme, seeking public feedback and suggestions on rules such as timing of support; how payments should be structured; how to deal with different unit size; what sustainability and efficiency criteria to adopt; and a number of other scheme criteria.

Stakeholder responses to the Consultation Paper will be reviewed and considered by the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment (DCCAE) prior to a final decision on the structure and design of the RHI early in 2017. The closing date for receipt of submissions to the consultation is 3 March 2017. While it is hoped that the Scheme will become available at the end of 2017, this is subject to Government and State Aid clearance.

– The overall RHI scheme will be designed so that it ensures value for money for the taxpayers who are being asked to pay the cost of the RHI subsidy. Therefore, the RHI I am proposing will have a budget cap mechanism and a mechanism to reduce the amount applicants get paid over time built in from the start – so the more you burn, the less you earn, ended Minister Naughten.

 

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