The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) administers a range of grant schemes to support homeowners to improve the energy efficiency of their properties. Partial grants are available for individuals that can afford to contribute to the cost of upgrades as well as free energy efficiency retrofits for people at risk of energy poverty. Since 2000, over 400,000 homeowners have upgraded their homes with support from these schemes. This has resulted in warmer, healthier and more comfortable homes that are easier and cheaper to heat and light. The 2021 budget for SEAI residential and community schemes is €221.5 million – the largest ever allocation for these schemes.
SEAI grants encourage homeowners to reduce heat loss through the installation of insulation and ventilation in the first instance, before moving to replace heating systems. This is in line with the fabric first principle and best practice.
Grants for residential pellet burning heating systems are not available as an individual measure. However, grants for pellet burning stoves are available when included as part of a wider energy efficiency upgrade under the Community Energy Grant Scheme and the National Retrofit (One-stop-shop development) Scheme. Stoves installed must meet certain requirements and specifications.
The Programme for Government and the Climate Action Plan set ambitious targets to retrofit 500,000 homes to a Building Energy Rating of B2 and to install 400,000 heat pumps in existing buildings over the next 10 years. Heat pumps are an attractive and extremely efficient alternative to stoves. Furthermore, heat pumps are very economical to run offering lower energy costs to homeowners as well as reduced carbon emissions.
Outside of the residential sector, the Support Scheme for Renewable Heat (SSRH) has been developed to financially support and stimulate the adoption of renewable heating systems by commercial, industrial, agricultural, district heating and other non-domestic heat users not covered under the EU Emissions Trading Scheme. The SSRH, which is operated by the SEAI, provides an operational support for biomass boilers and anaerobic digestion heating systems. Eligible renewable energy technologies are supported through a multi-annual payment, for a period of up to 15 years, on the basis of prescribed tariffs. The National Development Plan sets out an allocation of €300 million for the roll-out of the scheme for the period up to 2027. The introduction of the scheme provides an indirect stimulus to the indigenous wood pellet industry.
Further information on SEAI grants is available at www.seai.ie/grants or by calling 1850 927 000.