In September 2023 Ireland joined the Technology Collaboration Programme on Heat Pumping Technologies (HPT TPC) by International Energy Agency (IEA). This significant step reinforces Ireland’s commitment to sustainable energy and decarbonization and is a part of Ireland’s strategic efforts to drive the adoption of heat pumps and reduce the nation’s reliance on fossil fuels. The programme now has 20 member countries from three different continents.
The government of Ireland has designated the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) to be the contracting party and represent the country in the programme. SEAI will play a pivotal role in advancing research, innovation, and the widespread adoption of heat pump technologies in the country and has appointed two dedicated representatives to the Executive Committee of HPT TCP by IEA, Peter Kehoe – Programme Manager for Decarbonised Heat & Cooling, and Niamh O’ Sullivan – Senior Heat Decarbonisation Specialist. These representatives will actively contribute to collaborative efforts, knowledge exchange, and the development of heat pump technologies as part of the IEA HPT TCP. Ireland’s membership in the programme opens the possibility for Irish researchers and other stakeholders to participate in the different international collaboration projects of HPT TCP.
Ireland’s Climate Action Plan (CAP) 2023 – Heat Pump Related Targets
Today Ireland has a very low share of renewable heat, they are actually last in place in Europe. However, the country has high ambitions for the future. Ireland’s Climate Action Plan (CAP) emphasizes ambitious targets related to heat pumps, reflecting the country’s commitment to combatting climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The key heat pump-related targets for 2025 are 215 000 heat pumps in new and existing buildings in 2025 and 680 000 in 2030. According to the plan they will cease new gas connections or new fossil heating system installations in new or refurbished buildings and the ambition is to transition all buildings to heat pumps or district heating by 2050.
There are ongoing initiatives to upskill the workforce in areas like retrofit, heat pumps, district heating, and solar PV to meet climate ambitions for the built environment. According to the plan, technological innovation will be required across a wide range of areas, including in the ongoing development of heat pump technology. Technologies such as heat pumps are not only suitable in the residential sector but also in commercial buildings.
Moreover, investment in Ireland’s electricity grid capacity and generation will further facilitate up to 3.5 TWh of new industrial heat pumps to provide for the decarbonising of manufacturing processes. Finally to mention, there will be government support to reduce upfront investment costs and promote access to low-carbon technologies, including commercial heat pumps. Ireland’s CAP underscores the pivotal role of high-efficiency heat pumps powered by renewables in delivering low and medium-temperature heating for a sustainable future.
By joining the HPT TCP by IEA, Ireland is taking a significant stride towards realizing these ambitious heat pump targets, contributing to the global efforts to combat climate change, and fostering sustainable energy practices for generations to come.