€17 million fund for Renewable Heat Incentive scheme in Budget 2018

A total fund of €17 million will be allocated for the government’s long-anticipated Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme, with €7 million going towards the first phase of the scheme in 2018.

The scheme is aimed at encouraging industrial and commercial heat users, in the Republic of Ireland, to switch to greener technologies.

Speaking in Leinster House, Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe announced that a total budget of €17 million will go towards the RHI scheme and the encouragement of greater uptake of electric vehicles as part of Ireland’s commitment to its climate change obligations.

The big move from fossil fuels to renewable heat systems is set to provide financial and commercial opportunities for farmers nationwide.

Sources close to Denis Naughten, Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, said: “The RHI will support the replacement of fossil fuel heating systems with renewable energy systems – such as biomass boilers. The scheme will present a significant opportunity for the domestic bioenergy sector benefiting farmers, foresters and rural communities.

It is understood that the scheme will cover additional costs of generating heat from renewable sources by providing a payment on a ‘per unit of energy produced’ basis.

Speaking to AgriLand at this year’s National Ploughing Championships Minister Naughten said: “We need to come up with new ideas and new ways of doing things and we have to trial these out to see if they work and progress those that work best.”

The minister added: “There are opportunities there and we need to look at how we can actually increase the amounts of renewable energy on our farms, encourage farmers to adopt measures to increase energy efficiency and to incentivise growth in the area of domestic bioenergy.”