A major study into Ireland’s heating sector has found that up to 57 per cent of the country’s heat demand could be covered by district heating networks if the necessary government regulations were in place. The results of the ‘Heat Atlas for Ireland’ study will be presented at the Irish District Energy Association’s inaugural national conference, which takes place on Friday, April 12, 2019, in the Radisson Blu Royal hotel, Dublin. The Irish District Energy Association (IrDEA), together with the ESB, had commissioned this study to examine the potential for developing district heating networks across the country. The study was carried out by Dr Bernd Moeller and his research team at the Centre for Sustainable Energy Systems at the Europa-Universität Flensburg.

Draw on experience of international organisations

Dr Moeller will present the results of this research at the conference on Friday, which will also feature presentations from the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment and the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland, and will draw on the experience of international organisations such as the Danish Board of District Heating and Nordic Heat. The conference will also feature updates on the Tallaght District Heating Scheme, which is due to start construction later this year, and the Dublin District Heating Scheme in the docklands. Studies have shown that there is enough waste heat in Dublin to meet all heat demands in the capital; this is worth more than €1.2 billion and district heating is the only practical way of making use of this indigenous resource. District heating is a network of insulated pipes that delivers heat from a central energy source to provide space heating and hot water to the buildings connected to the network. It has the flexibility to combine multiple locally available, renewable and low-carbon heat sources and it can also recycle heat produced from activities such as electricity generation or industrial processes. Ireland currently ranks as one of the lowest countries in Europe for generating renewable heat; countries with the highest levels have achieved this through the use of district heating networks. Director of IrDEA Donna Gartland, said: "District heating is a well-established, effective technology and is commonplace in other European countries. "The results of the Heat Atlas study really show that district heating is a viable, low-carbon solution that can meet the majority of Ireland’s heat demand.

'Explore how technology can be further developed'

"Therefore, we need to explore how this technology can be further developed in Ireland and this conference is the first step towards that, opening up a much needed discussion on the role district heating can play towards a more low-carbon, sustainable society." The IrDEA National Conference takes place on Friday, April 12, 2019, from 8.30am-4.30pm in the Radisson Blu Royal hotel, Golden Lane, Dublin. It is supported by the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment, the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland, the ESB, the HeatNet NWE project and the Dublin Energy Agency Codema. For tickets and the full conference programme, please visit https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/irish-district-energy-association-national-conference-tickets-57406108215. For further information on IrDEA, including details on the ‘Heat Atlas in Ireland’ study, please visit www.districtenergy.ie. IrDEA was set up by its directors, Dr David Connolly and Donna Gartland, in 2017. It is the only trade organisation representing the district heating and cooling sector in Ireland.