Ireland’s Energy Minister Pat Rabbitte, TD, has welcomed the findings of the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) 2012 World Energy Outlook, pointing to how Ireland can take advantage of new market conditions to reduce its reliance on imported fossil fuels. Rabbitte was speaking in Dublin at an event, which was attended by the IEA’s chief economist Dr Fatih Birol.
Birol was in Dublin today to launch the IEA’s World Energy Outlook at the Institute of International and European Affairs.
The 2012 edition of the World Energy Outlook from the global energy watchdog forecasts that global energy demand will grow by more than one-third to 2035. It also points to how the US is witnessing a resurgence in oil and gas production, with the IEA predicting it could be the world’s biggest oil producer by 2017. This comes as a result of the process of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) to extract oil and gas from shale rock.
"North America is at the forefront of a sweeping transformation in oil and gas production that will affect all regions of the world, yet the potential also exists for a similarly transformative shift in global energy efficiency," said IEA executive director Maria van der Hoeven in a statement, when the report was launched.
By 2015, the IEA also predicts that renewables will become the world’s second-largest source of power generation.
Speaking today, Rabbitte welcomed the report’s emphasis on energy efficiency.
"This year, the World Energy Outlook identifies how the global energy map is changing. Developments in oil and gas production, combined with a rapid growth in wind and hydro, are having a profound effect on international energy markets. Ireland is well placed to take advantage of these trends to reduce our dependence on imported fossil fuels through widespread exploitation of our renewable and efficiency resources," he said.
Meanwhile, Birol spoke about the "profound" changes that are happening in global energy markets. He said that while markets are pursuing energy independence, there has never been a greater need for inter-connectedness.
"In this context, energy efficiency can play a key role in minimising exposure to supply and pricing fluctuations, as well as delaying the onset of climate warming, but policy makers need to do more," he said.
"Our World Energy Outlook shows that they need to explore new avenues and mechanisms to realise the latent efficiencies that current technologies offer," added Birol.
Rabbitte spoke about Ireland’s efforts to cut down on imported fossil fuels, with energy efficiency being a key policy measure.
He referenced his week’s publication of the Energy in Ireland (2012) report, which was published by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI).
While Ireland’s dependency on energy imports is still high, at 88pc, the SEAI report claims that almost one-fifth of Irish electricity usage now comes from renewable sources.
In 2011, renewable energy grew to 6.4pc of Ireland’s final energy use, reducing Ireland’s fossil fuel imports by an estimated €300m last year.
Globe and energy image via Shutterstock
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