An Irish scheme to support the generation of heat from biomass and anaerobic digestion was approved by the European Commission on 15 April.

The scheme is open to a wide range of heat users, namely commercial, industrial, agricultural, district heating and other non-domestic heat users, the Commission said, adding that beneficiaries will receive operating aid in the form of a payment for the useful renewable heat generated over 15 years.

The Commission said the EC assessed the measure under EU State aid rules, in particular, the Commission’s 2014 Guidelines on State aid for environmental protection and energy. It found that the scheme is proportionate as the payments granted to beneficiaries will not lead to overcompensation. The Commission concluded that the scheme would contribute to the EU’s energy and environmental objectives without unduly distorting competition.

On 16 April, the Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) hailed the confirmation that the EU has formally approved the state aid application for the Support Scheme for Renewable Heat (SSRH).

This scheme needs to open immediately in response to the state aid approval, IrBEA CEO Seán Finan said. “The Irish heat sector is currently in a state of stagnation. The industry has waited for many years for the opening of a support scheme for renewable heat. The approval of the Irish state aid application by the EU Commission is a positive development and is the impetus and stimulus that the industry needs at this time,” he said.