Dr David Connolly, Chair of eHeat Ireland’s Policy Committee gives his thoughts on the publication SEAI’s “National Heat Study”
Dr David Connolly:
This report is hugely welcome this morning. As a country that is streets ahead in terms of integrating renewable electricity, Ireland is ranked the worst in the EU for renewable heat, a trend which is currently getting worse each year, not better. The room for improvement here using proven technologies which convert our abundant renewable electricity into renewable heat is immense, so we are delighted to see this report promoting ‘High Electrification’ as a preferred source of future energy in Ireland.
With the SEAI National Heat Study indicating that industry will need to stop installing fossil fuel boilers before 2035, it is critical that new alternatives are provided. What also needs to be understood, is that the electrification of heat is a resource that we have available to use now, today, so it offers a readily available solution. This is why the study found that heat pumps are widely used to decarbonise heat at industrial sites in the results.
It is also great to see a new approach from government which shows a prioritisation for our lowest carbon solutions (including renewable heat) alongside energy efficiency. To date, the approach has been energy efficiency first which has led to low-cost and proven low-carbon solutions being underutilised, so this is a very welcome change.
Understanding that using renewable heat can reduce our CO2 emissions quickly and efficiently is imperative for industries that are worried about rising energy costs, as well as wanting to reduce their company’s carbon footprint. Renewable heat as an energy source will do both.
A typical heat pump uses one unit of electricity to produce three units of heat and as outlined in the study, the latest technology can provide temperatures up to 200°C for industrial applications. When introduced at scale across any industry, heat pumps improve the efficiency, increase the renewable heat share, reduce carbon emissions, and significantly improve a company’s security of energy supply.
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