Ireland needs to see 9pc growth in renewable energy in 4 years – report

9 Dec 2014

Ireland has to make up a difference of more than 9pc in renewable energy generation between now and 2020, a new report from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) reveals.

Launched today under the title Energy in Ireland 1990 – 2013, the report shows that despite there being an increase the amount of renewable energy created in the country in 2013, Ireland is still heavily tied to fossil fuels, with 47pc of its energy coming from oil while 29pc is attributed to natural gas.

Currently, Ireland sees 6.8pc of its electricity generated by renewable energy but has set its target at 16pc by 2020 which, if unmet, could see Ireland face serious financial penalties.

However, on a more positive note, the country’s home energy consumption is down by as much as a third, while its carbon intensity from electricity is half of what it was from the 1990 figures.

Wind energy was Ireland’s largest growth sector for renewable energy, with 178MW of electricity generated in 2013 bringing the country’s total capacity to 4TWh, reducing its carbon emissions by 1.7 megatonnes and €240m in fossil fuel imports.

Transport sees record growth in energy use

Transport has shown to be, by a considerable distance, an area where energy demand has increased dramatically between 1990 and 2013: 110.7pc from 2,054 Kilotonnes of oil equivalent (ktoe) to 4,326 (ktoe).

Ireland has set a target of 10pc of its transport to be powered by clean energy by 2020. The SEAI claims Ireland is halfway there with regard to this matter.

However, speaking of what SEAI believes to be the key findings of the report, Dr Brian Motherway, CEO of SEAI, said, “Among all the figures in this report, for me the one that stands out is the €6.7bn 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.”

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic