Ireland launched its renewable energy programme in 1996. The policy introduced the Alternative Energy Requirement (AER) Programme. Policy on renewables was further reviewed in 1999 with the publication of a Green Paper on Sustainable Energy.
The Green Paper contained a number of decisions including: a decision to support the building of up to 500MW of renewable energy based electricity plant to be connected to the electricity network by 2005 and a decision to explore other renewable energy technologies not supported at that time e.g., offshore wind.
The bulk of the 500MW target will be derived from wind energy sources and will be implemented in the national grid through the offer of contracts under the AER Programme.
Since 2009, companies paying corporation tax can get access to Accelerated Capital Allowances (ACA) for energy efficient equipment, which includes wind turbines >5kw, solar PV and CHP.
Furthermore, the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) administers a grant scheme called Greener Homes.
The Greener Homes Scheme provides assistance to homeowners who intend to purchase a new renewable energy heating system for existing homes. The grants are provided to householders who invest in renewable energy based heating systems under the following categories: solar heating, heat pump and wood chip or pellet boilers. Installers under the scheme must be registered with SEAI.