Ireland using five times more renewable energy than in 1990 and is halfway towards EU 2020 targets

Wind and bioenergy energy by far the biggest contributors

Thursday 5th March 2015: In 2013 renewable energy contributed 7.8% of final energy demand, almost halfway towards Ireland’s binding target of 16% under the European Union’s Renewable Energy Directive (RED). That is according to a new report Renewable Energy in Ireland 2013, published today by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI). Ireland is now using five times more renewables than in 1990, helping avoid three million tonnes of harmful CO2 emissions and displaced €300 million of fossil fuel imports annually.

Speaking today, Dr Brian Motherway, CEO of SEAI said: “Renewable energy is becoming increasingly valuable to Ireland. It is worth noting that vast majority of renewable energy comes from a combination of wind and bioenergy. Policy is directed towards making best use of our most available and cheapest resources, with no silver bullet. We need to make the right choices for Ireland by developing our energy system in the most cost effective manner to the benefit of our economy and society. The targets are demanding but achievable; to get there we will need focus, effort and investment.”

The report also indicates that the share of electricity generated from renewable energy sources increased fourfold since 1990 with renewables now contributing one fifth of electricity generated, the second largest share behind gas.

Other highlights from the report which indicate Ireland’s progress towards the overall EU Renewable Energy Directive target include:

  • The vast majority of renewable energy came from wind (47%) and bioenergy (42%) with the remainder coming from hydro, geothermal and solar.
  • Renewable electricity accounted for 58% of renewable energy, renewable heat 30% and renewable transport fuels 12%.
  • Ireland’s Gross Final Consumption of renewable energy amounted to 839 thousand tonnes of oil equivalent, five times more than in 1990, largely due to the increasing contribution from wind energy.

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Click here to download a copy of the report: Renewable Energy in Ireland - 2013 Update.pdf (size 1.5 MB)

Editors Notes:

About SEAI

The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) has a mission to play a leading role in the transformation of Ireland to a society based on sustainable energy structures, technologies and practices. SEAI is partly financed by Ireland’s EU Structural Funds Programme co-funded by the Irish Government and the European Union.

European Renewable Energy Directive

The European Renewable Energy Directive 2009/28/EC sets a mandatory target of 16% of gross final energy consumption to come from renewable energy sources by 2020. In response, Ireland’s National Renewable Energy Action Plan (NREAP) further sets out targets of 40% 12% and 10% for the contributions renewable energy to electricity generation, heating and transport respectively.

Renewable Energy in Ireland 2013 - Report Highlights

Progress towards overall EU Renewable Energy Directive target

  • Renewable energy contributed 7.8% of Gross Final Energy Consumption, almost halfway towards Ireland’s binding 2020 target.
  • Renewable electricity accounted for 58% of renewable energy, renewable heat 30% and renewable transport fuels 12%.
  • Ireland’s Gross Final Consumption of renewable energy amounted to 839 thousand tonnes of oil equivalent, five times more than in 1990, largely due to the increasing contribution from wind energy.
  • The vast majority of renewable energy came from wind (47%) and bioenergy (42%) with the remainder coming from hydro, geothermal and solar.

Energy Security and Avoided CO2 Emissions

  • Ireland’s total indigenous energy production was 2.3 million tonnes of oil equivalent, with renewables accounting for one third of this.
  • Renewable electricity generation avoided the combustion of approximately 963 thousand tonnes of oil equivalent of fossil fuels, displacing imports of €300 million.
  • 2.9 million tonnes of CO2 emissions were avoided through renewable energy use in all sectors, of which 60% was due to wind.

Renewable Electricity (RES-E)

  • The share of electricity generated from renewable energy sources increased fourfold between 1990 and 2013.
  • Renewable energy contributed one fifth of electricity generated, the second largest share behind gas.
  • Over 80% of renewable electricity generated came from wind power, with installed generating capacity reaching 1,941 MW.

Renewable Transport Energy (RES-T)

  • Renewable energy contributed 4.9% towards the transport renewables target, almost halfway towards the binding target.
  • At 72% biodiesel is the dominant biofuel, with the remainder being bioethanol.
  • 78% of liquid biofuels used were imported.

Renewable Heat Energy (RES-H)

  • Renewable heat share has doubled since 1990, now accounting for 5.7% of all thermal energy.
  • Industrial biomass use, mostly in the wood and food sectors, accounted for 60% of all thermal renewable energy used.
  • Following significant decline to 2001, renewable heat use in households has since tripled, due to increased use of geothermal, wood and solar.

Click here to download a copy of this press release in PDF format.

 
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