A new report published by the Republic of Ireland’s Sustainable Energy Authority (SEAI) entitled ‘Energy in Ireland 1990-2013’, has revealed that the country’s primary energy and CO2 emissions fell last year by 1.2% and 3.8% respectively.
Speaking last month at the launch of the report SEAI’s CEO Dr Brian Motherway said, “These are good indicators of progress towards greater energy sustainability. Last year more than a fifth of our electricity came from renewables, displacing €300 million of fossil fuel imports. Carbon emissions per unit of electricity generated in Ireland are now just over half of what they were in 1990, possibly the lowest they have ever been.”
According to SEAI, the report provides further evidence of the ‘profound effect of ambitious energy policy on decision making and consumption patterns’ in the Republic of Ireland. Improved building energy regulations, coupled with the country’s Building Energy Rating Scheme and the Better Energy upgrade programmes, means the average energy consumption of a home is now a third lower than in 1990.
Dr. Motherway added, “Among all the figures in this report, for me the one that stands out is the €6.7 billion spent on importing energy from elsewhere in 2013. There is so much to gain if we can reduce the exposure of our energy system to imported fossil fuels, at prices largely outside our control, and with their associated environmental and security implications.
“This report reminds us of the challenges that drive our policy, but also of the progress that Ireland’s citizens, businesses and policymakers are already delivering. It can inform our societal discussions about the increasingly important role energy plays in all our lives, and help us to collectively make the right choices to put energy firmly on a sustainable pathway.”
Key statistics highlighted in the report revealed that:
- Primary energy supply decreased by 1.2% while the Republic of Ireland’s economy grew by 0.2%;
- Energy-related CO2 emissions (excluding international aviation) fell by 3.8% but they remain 17% above the country’s 1990 level;
- The Republic of Ireland’s dependence upon imported energy decreased to 89%, with the total cost of imported energy over £5.5bn (€6.7bn);
- Electricity consumption was almost static while primary energy input for electricity generation fell by 5.2% and related CO2 emissions fell by 11%;
- The carbon intensity of electricity dropped to a new low of 469g CO2/kWh;
With 178 MW of new capacity added in 2013, wind energy resulted in the avoidance of approximately 1.7 Mt CO2 and €240 million in fossil fuel imports;
- The country’s target is 16% of gross final consumption from renewables by 2020, with separate targets for contributions of renewable energy in electricity (40%), transport (10%) and heat (12%). In 2013, the Republic of Ireland was approximately half way towards each of these targets;
- Energy use per dwelling fell by one third since 1990 while average floor area increased by 50% in the same period. The average dwelling emitted 6 tonnes of energy-related CO2, with 3.7 tonnes from direct fuel use and 2.2 tonnes from electricity.
The report can be read in its entirety on the SEAI website.