Government is ‘absolutely determined’ to harness the hot water generated by the Poolbeg incinerator to heat homes and businesses in the Dublin Docklands.
Dublin City Council (DCC) believes up to 80,000 homes and apartments in Georgian Dublin and across the docklands could be heated by hot water generated by the incinerator.
The district heating system would pump hot water directly into homes and offices without the need for a boiler in each building.
Proposals for the system have been in place since before the incinerator opened in 2017; however, the project remains in the concept phase – with DCC currently considering bids from energy companies.
On The Pat Kenny Show this morning, Climate Minister Eamon Ryan said he was ‘absolutely determined’ to see the project over the line in the lifetime of this Government.
“There are certain projects that are key and that is one of them because it is about eliminating the waste,” he said.
“As people know, the incinerator is running constantly pretty much now and the waste heat water from that is currently pumped out into the Liffey
“So rather than wasting that and seeing it just heat up Dublin Bay effectively, what we are looking to do - and we have started this project - is to use that waste heat to heat buildings along the Quays. To heat our social housing in Ringsend and surrounding areas.
“I see it going to heat Georgian Dublin because there it is going to be very difficult for us to retrofit buildings – to do the retrofitting we need to do across the country.
“Instead, far better to use that waste heat so every building has a cheap, reliable, secure source of hot water.”
Minister Ryan admitted that authorities have been far too slow to get moving on the project but insisted that it remains a top priority.
“We have the right plans in place now,” he said. “We have a clear, good climate action plan, we have a good national development plan. What we need to do is focus on delivery.
“The State is not fast enough. The State is not agile enough and there is not enough urgency, in my mind, in terms of delivering some of the solutions that will give us a better economy and give us a better local environment.
“So absolutely this is one of the first priorities.”
Minister Ryan also admitted Government may have to go further than its €100 credit to support households facing soaring energy costs.
The money will be given to every household in Ireland and will be automatically deducted from electricity bills.
Energy prices have risen sharply in recent months, and there are fears they could go higher as tensions build on the Russia/Ukraine border.
Green Party leader Eamon Ryan said the unpredictability means further action could yet be needed.
“In October, in the budget, we made a series of initiatives in terms of increasing the social welfare provisions, the fuel allowance and a number of other taxes and changes to support people, particularly at risk of fuel poverty but we needed to go beyond that and we may have to go further – we will have to watch and see how this crisis evolves,” he said.
“This isn’t a normal situation. This is unprecedented and I think it is appropriate. The European n Commission and just about every country in Europe has agreed we do need to make a response because it is exceptional circumstances.
“We do expect prices to come down. Exactly how much we won’t know and it does depend on what happens in the Ukraine and elsewhere.”