Kelly stresses importance of renewable solutions in Irish heat sector

The need for renewable solutions in the Irish heat sector is vital to ensure Ireland can meet its 2030 targets in an economically feasible way, according to MEP for Ireland South, Sean Kelly.

The Fine Gael leader in the European Parliament launched a new report published by the Bioenergy Industry titled: ‘Slashing Emissions from Residential Wood Heating’ on Wednesday.

The report was published in collaboration with Bioenergy Europe, an association that counts the Irish Bioenergy Association and Bord na Mona among its members.

Speaking after the event, Kelly noted the opportunities presented by renewable heat, and biomass in particular, for Ireland to meet targets set under the Effort Sharing Regulation.

The MEP for Ireland South said: “The heat sector is often one that is forgotten in the climate debate; 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.”

He outlined that the emissions discussion in Ireland often boils down to two main points – agriculture and electricity – and said “it is frustrating” that the heat sector does not get enough attention.

By rolling out support for renewable heat, we can take some of the burden away from agriculture where cuts are less straight forward, and ensure we meet targets in a fair, just and economical manner.

He outlined that residential biomass heat presents “a great opportunity” for rural Ireland.

The MEP explained that by replacing fossil-fired heat systems farmers will have the opportunity to diversify through short-rotation coppice and forestry.

He commended the biomass industry on “the excellent work they are doing to promote the cleanest and most efficient fuels and appliances”.

Concluding, Kelly stressed: “We couldn’t make it clearer for policymakers; bioenergy can be good for climate change and air quality.”