​The 2009 Renewable Energy Directive requires Ireland to meet 16% of our energy requirements from renewable sources by 2020. In order to achieve this objective, Ireland set a target of 12% renewable energy in the heat sector. In 2016, 6.8% of the energy used in the heat sector was renewable.

The Support Scheme for Renewable Heat has been designed to replace fossil fuel heating systems with renewable energy technologies. The Scheme will contribute to meeting Ireland's 2020 renewable energy and emission reduction targets. It will focus on heat users in the Non Emissions Trading (non-ETS) sector. This includes commercial, industrial, agricultural, district heating, public sector and other non-domestic heat users.  The scheme was developed following detailed economic analysis and extensive engagement with industry.  Two public consultations were also held on the design and technology to be employed.  

The Scheme is made up of two support mechanisms – an on-going operational support for biomass boiler and anaerobic digestion heating systems and an installation grant for electric heat pumps.

Funding of €7 million was provided for the initial stage of this Scheme in Budget 2018. The Scheme is now open for applications for heat pump installation grants. The Scheme is expected to open for applications for operational support later in 2018, subject to European Commission State aid approval. All applications should be made to the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland.