The ESB has released its 2013 Sustainability Report, showing some progress with 1.4TWh of renewable energy generated in 2013 and a reduction of 1.5m tonnes of CO2 from 2012.
The report has also highlighted other improvements on previous years, including the Irish electricity board’s fuel consumption for the year having come down by 190,000 litres, or the equivalent of 3.9pc. The ESB also rolled out 1,300 charging points across Ireland for the country’s electric vehicles.
In terms of efficiency on the greater electricity infrastructure, 2,579 km of overhead electric cabling was switched from 10V capacity to 20V last year, resulting not only in greater efficiency and capability in carrying higher volumes of power but a savings of 5,000kWh each year.
Renewable energies have seen an increase in powering Ireland in 2013, with 541MW generated through various means and helped by the commissioning of two new wind farms at Mynydd y Betws (35MW) in Wales and Carrickatane (21MW) in Northern Ireland.
The energy suppliers also set aside €2m for the ‘Energy for Generations’ fund to assist in community and issues-based initiatives for renewable energies.
Speaking at the launch, Pat Naughton, executive director of ESB’s Group People and Sustainability division, said, “Sustainability performance in ESB remains deeply rooted in our overall business strategy. It has extended from a relatively narrow focus on environmental issues to a broader approach integrating economic, social, environment and governance requirements within the sustainable development framework.”
Still behind in environmental targets
Despite the ESB’s optimism regarding renewable energies, the report comes only a few days after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) claimed Ireland is far from capable of achieving its clean-energies and sustainability targets set out by Europe 2020.
“We are not on track to a low-carbon society,” said Laura Burke, director-general of the DPA. “At this rate, we are not even on track to meet our targets under the EU Climate and Energy package for 2020.
“Missing these targets will entail costs for Ireland, and will also increase the difficulty and the cost of achieving a low-carbon economy and society.”
Sustainable energy image via Shutterstock