The European Union passed legislation to encourage the use of renewable energy sources (RES) in 2009 (2009/28/EC). The RES Directive’s article two defines which sources of energy are deemed renewable. It includes aerothermal (energy stored in air), hydrothermal (energy stored in water) and geothermal (energy stored below the earth’s crust). The Directive explicitly recognizes heat pump technology as necessary to make use of these renewable sources.
The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) will provide financial incentives to projects which install heating systems that harness renewable energy sources in order to encourage industrial and commercial heat consumers to switch to greener technologies. It will be open to the commercial, industrial and public sectors. This includes small businesses, hospitals and schools as well as district heating schemes and agricultural uses.