Ireland Records 8.1% Improvement in Energy Efficiency Levels

Media Information
2nd November 2007

Sustainable Energy Ireland Publishes New Report on Ireland’s Energy Efficiency

Key findings:

  • Ireland achieved an improvement in energy efficiency levels of 8.1% between 1995 and 2005.
  • Irish Industry recorded a 15% improvement in its energy efficiency over the same period.
  • The residential sector recorded improvements of 8.2% during the period.
  • Energy efficiency in the transport sector improved by 0.8% over the period.
  • Energy efficiency improvements in both the residential and transport sectors were reduced by behavioural effects which resulted in increased energy consumption.   
  • Between 1995 and 2004 Ireland recorded an improvement in energy efficiency of 8.2% compared with an EU-15 average of 5.6%. *

Sustainable Energy Ireland (SEI) has today published the findings of a new report which details improvements in energy efficiency in Ireland over the ten years 1995 -2005. The report finds that Ireland’s energy efficiency improved over the decade. However the level of improvement was reduced by the behavioural effects of socio-economic changes. The report, “Energy Efficiency in Ireland 2007” was produced by SEI’s Energy Policy Statistical Support Unit (EPSSU) and is intended to inform energy efficiency policy in Ireland. 

Ireland achieved improvements in energy efficiency of 8.1% between 1995 and 2005. However, the report finds that this figure could have been as high as 15% were it not for the behavioural impact of socio-economic changes. The potential reduction in energy demand in the residential and transport sectors was offset by factors such as an increase in comfort levels in households and an increase in the average engine size of new vehicles.

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Eamon Ryan T.D., said “Some of the report’s findings are encouraging as they clearly show that positive change has taken place. What is of concern is the extent to which technical improvements in energy efficiency have struggled to keep pace with the socio-economic changes over the same period. It is clear that the economic growth which has transformed the country over the past ten years presents us with the additional challenge of how to secure the gains of energy efficiency to reduce our energy demand and resulting greenhouse gas emissions.”

The report also shows that Ireland’s progress as compared to its European peers was strong with Ireland recording efficiency improvements of 2.6% points above the average for the EU-15 states. *

David Taylor, Chief Executive, SEI, said, “The analysis shows that industry, in improving its energy efficiency by 15%, has led the way in securing significant improvements in energy end use efficiency. There is however considerable opportunity and scope for improvement across the economy. Consumers have an important role to play in achieving energy efficiency gains by making energy efficient purchase decisions. There is a big contrast in the changes in energy consumption resulting from the behaviour highlighted in today’s report with the awareness and change being encouraged by The Power of One campaign.”

Energy Efficiency in Ireland 2007 is the first SEI report to focus exclusively on energy efficiency. Its publication is intended to provide timely and comprehensive data on energy efficiency and intensity to inform the discussion and public response to future policy options such as the Energy Efficiency Action Plan which is in its public consultation phase.

The Government’s recent White Paper on Energy set a target for a 20% reduction in energy usage across the whole economy by 2020.

While the Energy Efficiency in Ireland 2007 report shows that improvements were made between 1995 and 2005 these improvements were mainly due to advances in technology as compared with behaviour. As final energy demand increased by 72% between 1990 and 2005, the report shows that significant further behavioural change in terms of purchase and consumption patterns associated with cars and energy usage in homes and businesses will be necessary to bring about further improvements.

Editors Notes:

About SEI
Sustainable Energy Ireland (SEI) is the statutory authority charged with promoting and assisting the development of sustainable energy. SEI is funded by the Irish Government under the National Development Plan, with programmes part-financed by the European Union.

* This figure refers to data published from the EU Odyssee Project – a cross European project which develops and maintains a database of energy efficiency indicators. For comparison purposes data for Ireland may be slightly different to the more up-to-date data that is presented elsewhere in this press release. It also should be noted that the period examined is 1990 or 1995 to 2004, as opposed to 2005 elsewhere.

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