District heating is not widely used in Ireland, with only a handful of communal or localised district heating systems in use. The majority of the existing district heating systems were built in the last ten years. There has been very little development of district heating in recent years, with only examples being mixed use developments with centralised boiler/CHP systems.
As seen in the graph below, the majority of heating is delivered to buildings through individual gas and oil boilers. Only 6.6% of 49 TWh of total final consumption of thermal energy is met by renewable sources (2015 figures latest). The total district heating contribution to total final thermal demand in Ireland is estimated at <0.8%.
CHP met 7.5% of the total electricity requirements. Within district heating, 11% is generated by CHP plants. The fuel source is mainly fossil based, as 242 of 281 operational CHPs in 2015 in Ireland use natural gas.
There are no national level targets for district heating. A recent assessment of district heating potential in Ireland, as part of European Energy Efficiency Directive, found district heating is only feasible in some areas of the capital city Dublin, and some small schemes in rural areas where more expensive fuels such as oil are in use.