The Support Scheme for Renewable Heat is a government funded initiative designed to increase the energy generated from renewable sources in the heat sector. It will contribute to meeting Ireland’s 2020 renewable energy targets whilst also reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

What is the Support Scheme for Renewable Heat

The primary objective of the support scheme for renewable heat is to increase the level of renewable energy in the heat sector. This will contribute to meeting Ireland's 2020 renewable energy targets and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The government funded scheme will support the adoption of renewable heating systems by commercial, industrial, agricultural, district heating, public sector and other non-domestic heat users not covered by the emissions trading system. 

Ireland has a target of 16% of gross final energy consumption to come from renewable sources in 2020, with sub-targets for the electricity (40%), transport (10%) and heat (12%) sectors. In 2016, we have already reached a level of 6.8% (with a target of 12%) in the heat sector. The Government has introduced a range of measures across the electricity and transport sectors to help meet our targets, and a support scheme for renewable heat will expand this suite of support measures into the heating sector. 

What will be supported

The scheme will support projects through one of the following support mechanisms:

  1. An on-going operational support (paid for a period up to 15 years) based on useable heat output in renewable heating systems in new installations or installations that currently use a fossil fuel heating system and convert to using the following technologies:
    • Biomass heating systems
    • Anaerobic digestion heating systems
  2. A grant (of up to 30%) to support investment in renewable heating systems that use the following technologies:
    • Air source heat pumps
    • Ground source heat pumps and
    • Water source heat pumps
  3. Other technologies and methods of support continue to be under consideration (including biomethane grid injection) for subsequent phases of the scheme.

How the ongoing payment system will work

This support consists of a multi-annual payment (for a period of up to 15 years) on the basis of prescribed tariffs. The maximum tariffs paid will be:

  • 5.66 cents per kilowatt hour of energy produced from biomass heating systems and
  • 2.95 cents per kilowatt hour of energy produced from anaerobic digestion heating systems

The tariffs paid will reduce with increasing output reflecting the economy of scale associated with larger systems.  

Each tariff will set the amount of support that the Scheme participant will receive in respect of each unit of heat energy used for an eligible purpose. The tariff level for a particular project will generally be fixed for the period of support. Tariff levels will not be linked to indexation. However, adjustments may be applied to prevent windfall gains.   

The payment under the support scheme will be tiered based on the annual heat output (on a per kWh basis).

The participant will receive a payment according to the tariff (c/kWh) for Tier 1 up to the first threshold value; heat output greater than that threshold will be paid at a lower tariff level up to the Tier 2 threshold, and so on for higher Tiers. Since the cost of generating renewable heat typically falls with increasing installation size, the tariff will reduce from one Tier to the next.  Therefore, the more renewable heat produced the less the applicant will get paid per unit output.

The Support Scheme for Renewable Heat is a tangible and viable measure that will kick-start the biomass and biogas sectors.  Crucially it will provide the basis to create new commercial opportunities for farmers in heat technologies including biomass boiler installations and new opportunities for foresters.  It will also contribute to meeting Ireland's 2020 renewable energy and emission reduction targets
Denis Naughten, Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment

Eligibility for the scheme

We are pleased to be appointed as administrator for this important government initiative to stimulate and support the replacement of fossil fuel heating systems with renewable energy.

We will now develop the detailed terms and conditions, including eligibility and sustainability criteria for approval by the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment. Eligible heat must be useful, energy managed and energy efficient. This will be detailed further in the Terms & Conditions.

It will be mid 2018 before the scheme is open for applications. No further information is available at this time.


The development of the support scheme involved detailed economic analysis, extensive engagement with industry and the publication of two public consultations on the design and implementation of the scheme. Download the reports below that are relevant.

BioHEAT: A policy decision support tool in Ireland's bioenergy and heat sectors - This paper details the methodology for an integrated bioenergy and heat policy decision support tool that is being used to inform policy in Ireland.