I propose to take Questions Nos. 1276, 1301 and 1322 together.
The introduction of a Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) is a commitment in the Energy White Paper and the Programme for Government. The aim of the RHI is to build on the progress already made in the renewable heating sector and to help reach Ireland’s 12% target by 2020. Provisional data indicates that 6.6% of heat demand was derived from renewable sources in 2016.
My Department has undertaken a detailed economic assessment on the design and cost of the RHI for the industrial/commercial sector in Ireland. This assessment included a broad range of renewable energy technologies, including the potential for Anaerobic Digestion, biogas which would be suitable in an agricultural business and biomethane injection into the gas grid. The primary focus of the RHI is on large commercial and industrial heat users in the non-Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) to ensure the scheme is cost effective and ensures value for money for taxpayers.
The final public consultation process on the design and implementation of the new RHI closed in March 2017, and 119 submissions were reviewed by my Department. All submissions to the RHI public consultation are now published on my Department's website. The findings from this public consultation are being used to help inform final decisions in relation to the scheme. At this stage, the overall costs, technologies to be supported and design of a scheme are still under consideration and will require Government decision and State aid clearance from the European Commission.