Published: Thu, 07 March 2019
MEP for Ireland South and Fine Gael’s leader in the European Parliament, Seán Kelly, has highlighted the need for renewable solutions in the heat sector in order to ensure Ireland can meet its 2030 targets in an economically feasible way.
In Brussels yesterday (Wednesday), Mr. Kelly launched a new report published by the Bioenergy Industry titled “Slashing Emissions from Residential Wood Heating” in collaboration with Bioenergy Europe, an association that counts the Irish Bioenergy Association and Bord na Móna among its members.
Speaking after the event, Mr. Kelly noted the opportunities presented by renewable heat, and biomass in particular, for Ireland to meet targets set under the Effort Sharing Regulation.
“The heat sector is often one that is forgotten in the climate debate” highlighted Mr. Kelly, “however heat demand in buildings makes up around half of the EU’s energy demand. Furthermore, in Ireland, around half of our residential heat comes from old and polluting individual oil-fired boilers, which account for a significant proportion of our emissions.
“The emissions discussion in Ireland often boils down to two main points – agriculture and electricity. It is frustrating that the heat sector doesn’t get enough attention. By promoting the uptake of small-scale renewable heat appliances, by rolling out support for renewable heat, we can take some of the burden away from agriculture where cuts are less straightforward, and ensure we meet targets in a fair, just and economical manner.
“Residential biomass heat presents a great opportunity for rural Ireland. In addition to replacing fossil-fired heat systems, it gives the opportunity for farmers to diversify through short-rotation coppice and forestry. However, it is important that a move towards increased biomass heat does not have air quality implications. For this reason I welcome the launch of this report, and commend the biomass industry on the excellent work they are doing to promote the cleanest and most efficient fuels and appliances”.
Jean-Marc Jossart Secretary General of Bioenergy Europe who co-hosted the launch with Mr. Kelly, noted that “Emissions from residential wood heating will not be a concern if we replace the existing stock of old and inefficient wood stoves with modern ones – based on modern technology that provides reliable, clean heat allowing for a cut of both emissions and bills!
“We couldn’t make it clearer for policy makers: bioenergy can be good for climate change and air quality”, he concluded.