Ireland – a world pioneer in wind energy

26 May 2010

SEAI reports reveal growth in renewable energy and a fall in electricity and gas prices in Ireland.

The Renewable Energy in Ireland 2010 report released by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland today points to how Ireland is already paving the way in the wind-energy stakes globally.

In addition, today’s report shows that energy price comparisons between Ireland and the EU is improving, while gas and electricity prices fell for all users in Ireland in the second half of last year.

According to SEAI’s Renewable Energy in Ireland 2010 report:

·      The share of electricity generated from renewable energy sources in 2009 was 14.4pc, two-thirds of which was wind – according to SEAI this will ensure that Ireland is well on track to fulfil Government targets on renewable electricity this year.

·      In 2009, renewable energy sources generated enough electricity to power 750,000 homes, half of all households in Ireland.

·      There has been growth in the use of renewable energy for heating and transport, but progress is at a slower pace than the contribution of renewable sources for electricity generation.

Meanwhile the SEAI’s Electricity & Gas Prices in Ireland – 2nd Semester 2009 report has indicated that:

·      In the second half of 2009, SEAI reports that Irish electricity and gas prices fell for all consumers.

·      Electricity and gas prices for householders, when adjusted for affordability differences (‘Purchase Power Parity’) between EU countries, were cheaper than the EU average by an average of 13pc for the typical consumer.

·      For business, electricity prices declined, ranging from a 5pc to 10pc drop for small and large business consumers. While electricity prices to business remain above the EU average, they did move closer to this average for most business-energy users.

·      Gas prices fell for all business consumers, up to 26pc in some cases.

·      Business consumers benefited from a 5pc to 10pc drop in electricity prices across both small and large users.

·      Gas prices fell for all business customers, ranging from 9.4pc to 26pc with most prices being below the EU average.

– Gas prices for medium business users were 11pc below the EU average.

Prof Owen Lewis, chief executive, SEAI, said: “This is a good starting point. The renewable-energy statistics show a real opportunity for Ireland, but challenges still remain and more progress is needed if we are to realise the benefits that renewable-energy offers and improve our energy security.”

Commenting on the statistics from today’s SEAI reports, Energy Minister Eamon Ryan TD said: “These results are significant, considering the structural constraints Ireland faces as an energy island with higher transportation costs, a widely dispersed population and the lack of power-generation economies of scale as many other EU countries would have.

“Ireland is also meeting the challenge of investing in our grid. EirGrid’s Grid25 will invest €4bn into our electricity infrastructure to modernise our national grid. ESB’s plan to decarbonise their power generation includes a €22bn investment in that company. BGE have made great strides in the domestic gas and electricity markets. This does not include Airtricity, Viridian, Endesa and other private operators who have entered the Irish market.

“Our success in the area of renewables is only adding to our competitive international advantage. It is clear such success can only come about through collaboration and competition and careful management of the market,” Ryan added.

For further information and to download a copy of the report, visit the SEAI.

By Carmel Doyle

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic