The Alliance for Zero Carbon Heating has stated that Minister Ryan’s proposed ban on oil and gas boilers will hurt “already hard-pressed” families.
The group has reacted with alarm to remarks made by the minister, suggesting that the government intends to ban the installation of new oil and gas boilers in existing homes as early as 2025.
They believe that the “retrograde measure” would constitute another financial blow to families across Ireland, who are already struggling to cope with the increasing cost of heating.
Ban on oil and gas boilers
The group said that it would make it “impossible” for homeowners – who cannot afford energy upgrades – to heat their houses.
They have warned that the proposed ban will force many into attempts to repair “older, inefficient” oil and gas systems, which is “both expensive and dangerous”.
Furthermore, they foresee that it will increase the use of stoves and open fires, which is, they said, “precisely” the opposite of the “desired” outcome.
The group believes that switching to a heat pump is only efficient in homes that already have a high energy rating.
It said that the cost of undergoing the deep retrofit often required to achieve this is “prohibitively expensive” for many households.
The group’s Kevin McPartlan said: “What this means is that if their [a family’s] boiler breaks, they will be left without heat unless they can come up with €56,000, which is needed for a deep retrofit.”
“Even with the availability of grants, this simply is not feasible for most households. This regressive policy move is, quite literally, leaving thousands of our most vulnerable households in the cold.”
In a statement, a spokesperson for the group said: “District heating – which is the solution the government is touting – is not an option for rural Ireland, even if it proves viable elsewhere.”
“With 700,000 homes nationwide, the majority of which are rural, reliant on liquid fuel for heat, this discriminatory ban would punish those who are struggling the most as a result of the energy crisis.”
Therefore, to combat the issue, the group is in favour of using low-carbon liquid fuels, which they suggest, can be utilised in existing boilers with “only minor” modifications.
Therefore, the group’s spokesperson, Kevin McPartlan, believes the focus should be on incentivising the use of biofuels, as he says they have been shown to reduce emissions by up to 86%.
He explained: “The totality of government policy includes moves to increase the use of advanced, synthetic and biofuels in other sectors, as well as the development of green hydrogen produced by offshore wind.”
“Embracing these alternative approaches in residential heating makes perfect sense in the context of the government’s overall policy agenda,” he concluded.
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