Heat energy accounts for 38% of final energy consumption in Ireland with oil, gas and solid fuels still the primary means for heat generation. This study aims to deliver a comprehensive assessment of the options available to decarbonise the heating and cooling sectors in Ireland to 2050.

Statistics taken from latest energy balance report.

  • 38%

    of all energy consumption in Ireland is energy used for heat
  • 35%

    annual energy related emissions coming from heat
  • 94%

    of our energy for heat still comes from fossil fuels

About the project

Ireland’s government is aiming to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 7% a year from 2021 to 2030. The Programme for Government also sets out the aim of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. How will we achieve this? First we need to develop a detailed understanding of the options available to us, what they cost, how we can deliver them and how these may impact the people and businesses that use heat.

The Department of Environment, Climate and Communications (DECC) have ased SEAI to develop a comprehensive assessment of the potential for efficient heating and cooling in Ireland. This study builds on an SEAI report completed in 2015. Detailed analysis can deliver insights to help policy makers understand the options available. Article 14 of Directive 2012/27/EU on energy efficiency (EED) asks that every member state develops a similar assessment in their country.

Project goals

Share of energy related CO₂ by mode

Download data

Share of Energy related CO2 by mode (%),2018
Source: SEAI

Some of the insights we aim to gain are

  • What are the low/no-regret options for technology deployment and policy when it comes to heat and cooling decarbonisation?
  • What is the potential for district heating? What role can waste heat and geothermal heat sources play?
  • What options are there for decarbonising industrial heat?
  • What are the opportunities and challenges for a decarbonised gas grid?
  • What are the opportunities and challenges for the electrification of heat?
  • What options are there for sustainable bioenergy and how might bioenergy use impact total emissions?
  • Is there a role of carbon capture, utilisation and storage in the heat sector?
  • What are the scenarios for how technology options be deployed to deliver decarbonisation?
  • What is the cost effectiveness of the various options?

New @SEAI_ie #heat study to investigate options available to decarbonise the heating and cooling sectors in Ireland to 2050.

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Project deliverables

  1. Provide DECC with the information required to submit a National Comprehensive Assessment report to the EU Commission
  2. Enhanced energy sector modelling capacity developed and maintained in SEAI.
  3. Detailed evidence base including technology and policy pathways.
  4. Data and insights for government, industry and other stakeholders.

How we plan to deliver on this project

SEAI work with homeowners, businesses, communities and government to transform how we think about, generate and use energy. We have delivered analysis and programmes in the heat sector for several years across. We developed a tool called the National Energy Modelling Framework (NEMF) and it covers the full energy system. The NEMF tool will be use to evaluate the impacts and cost effectiveness of the options developed in the project.

This project has seven workstreams

  1. Data, demand scenarios and mapping
  2. Modelling and cost benefit analysis
  3. Thermal generation technologies
  4. Heat and other networks
  5. Low carbon and renewable gases and fluids
  6. Carbon capture, utilisation and storage
  7. Bioenergy

We will work with DECC, who sit on the project oversight group, and we will engage with relevant Stakeholders throughout the duration of the project. The project will be delivered in collaboration with the SEAI framework panel of expert industry consultants.

Project milestones

The project started in September 2020 with the early phases focused on enhancing the National Energy Modelling Framework (NEMF) to meet the needs of the evaluation.

Progress to date
  • Rigorous data gathering, comprehensive pre-modelling analysis, model updates.
  • Wide stakeholder engagement.
  • Net-zero scenarios for heating and cooling in 2050

Next Steps

  • In depth modelling & cost benefit analysis.
  • Reporting
Q2  - Q3

Technical Reports:

  • Assessment of Heat & Cold Demand in Ireland
  • District heating potential, waste heat  & heat demand profiles.
  • Heating & Cooling Generation Technologies
  • Infrastructure costs – gas & electricity networks
  • Hydrogen, & other non-biological renewable gases
  • Bioenergy potential and GHG impacts
  • Carbon Capture, Storage and Utilisation


  • Detailed spatial map of current and future heat and cold demand
  • Detailed spatial map of bioenergy resource potential

Supporting data

  • Excel workbooks with associated costs, supporting the above report
Q3 2021

Final Reports

  • National Comprehensive Assessment Report for the Department of Environment, Communications and Climate to submit to European Commission
  • National Heat Study - Flagship Report - Costs, benefits, and consumer impacts  of heat decarbonisation options