ESRI Research Bulletin

Decarbonising heat through electricity: costs, benefits and trade-offs for the Irish power system

ESRI Research Bulletin Articles provide short summaries of work published by ESRI researchers and overviews of thematic areas covered by ESRI programmes of research. Bulletin Articles are designed to be easily accessible to a wide readership. A reference or references to the full publication is included at the start of each Bulletin article.

August 3, 2022
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Heat demand in Ireland makes up about 40% of total Irish energy usage, and residential home heating accounts for 25% of energy-related CO2 emissions. Decarbonisation of the Irish heating sector has been slow to date, with Ireland falling well short of 2020 targets for renewable heat. The Climate Action Plan envisages that this sector will be decarbonised by retrofitting 400,000 existing dwellings to a minimum B2 BER standard and installing 600,000 heatpumps in Irish homes by 2030. Achieving a high usage of renewable electricity generation therefore allows a net decarbonisation of the heating sector.

The impacts for the electricity system of significant electrification of the heating sector have not been examined in detail. Increased electrification will require new generation, new transmission lines and increased storage. Furthermore, different decarbonisation policies, as well as the spatial rollout of heatpumps, will impact on the power system in different ways. This research examines these questions.