A ban on the installation of gas and oil-fired boilers to heat new and existing homes is among measures the government is finalizing as part of a package of measures to respond to the energy crisis to be unveiled in the coming weeks.
The ban would apply to newly built homes from next year and to replacement installations in existing homes potentially as early as 2025.
It found that one in five new homes built in the past year and one in 12 so far this year have fossil-fuel heating systems, despite the introduction of regulations designed to encourage the use of clean energy.
Boilers in around half a million homes built during the 2000-2010 construction boom are also nearing the end of their lives and will soon need to be replaced.
Energy and Climate Secretary Eamon Ryan said the replacement of fossil fuels with fossil fuels could not go ahead.
“What we need to do now is make absolutely clear to people that we are moving away from fossil fuels and towards better alternatives,” he said.
We need to start switching to alternatives
Tightening energy efficiency regulations for new builds have led to a move away from oil and gas, but with high levels of insulation and other plumbing it’s still possible for a new home to get an A rating even with a gas boiler.
Gas Networks Ireland connected more than 8,000 new residential customers in the last year alone.
“If we want to meet our climate goals, if we want to protect our population from high gas prices, we have to stop new connections, we have to start switching to alternatives,” Ryan said.
“And when it comes to existing boilers, the whole fleet of boilers in the 25 percent of homes that were built between 2000 and 2010, we need to make sure they switch to heat pumps, not new gas boilers, to avoid fossil by fossil substitute .”
Mr Ryan said district heating, where heat generated by industrial and commercial activities is captured and channeled to surrounding homes, would need to be deployed quickly and widely.
He was speaking at a conference hosted by the Irish District Energy Association (IrDEA) which heard Ireland has the lowest district heating in the EU.
“We just have to improve from terrible to terrible to make a big difference,” said IrDEA director David Connolly, who said Ireland started almost from scratch.
He said a recent Danish study found that 90 per cent of the 1.8 million homes connected to district heating systems were completely isolated from the gas price hikes of recent months.
The Climate Action Plan aims to provide 2.7 terawatt hours of heat from district heating by 2030 – around 6 per cent of all heat used by Irish buildings.
Marie Donnelly, chair of the Climate Change Advisory Council, said the target needs to be increased tenfold to attract foreign companies that are experts in developing district heating systems.
She said: “2.7 is not worth the trouble. You’re not going to get on a plane and talk to us at 7/2. We have to say that we will achieve 50 percent by 2030. That is doable.”
Mr Ryan said he was less concerned about destinations than proof of delivery.
He said he will meet Dublin City Council chief executive Owen Keegan next week to urge progress on much-delayed plans to heat up to 80,000 homes and properties in Dublin with heat from Poolbeg’s incinerator.
The state has put €20 million into the project, the pipes are being laid under the Liffey and most of the Docklands apartment blocks have been built ready to be connected to the plant, but in the five years that it has been in operation, nothing happened.
“It’s heating up Dublin Bay instead,” Mr Ryan said.
https://www.independent.ie/news/environment/details-of-ban-on-gas-and-oil-home-heating-systems-to-be-known-within-weeks-41954294.html Details on the ban on gas and oil heating are to be announced in the coming weeks