Energy Use and Associated CO2 emissions increased in 2015
Provisional energy figures for 2015,show mixed results in terms of Ireland’s transition to a low-carbon energy economy
Release 1st June 2016: Provisional energy figures for 2015, published by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), show mixed results in terms of Ireland's transition to a low-carbon energy economy. Ireland's overall energy use and related CO2 emissions both increased by roughly 5%. While this increase was lower than economic growth at nearly 8% it signals a re-coupling of energy and economic growth. In the same period Ireland's use of renewables for power, heat and transport increased by 13%.
The competing forces of Ireland's energy system were particularly evident in the power generation sector. On the one hand wind generated electricity increased by 28%, accounting for over one fifth of all electricity in 2015. However this was offset by increased use of coal and peat in non-renewable electricity generation and a reduction in total electricity imports. The net effect was a marginal increase in the carbon intensity of electricity generation.
Commenting on the figures Dr Eimear Cotter, SEAI Head of Low Carbon Technologies said "These figures show the complexity of our energy system and the interplay of economic growth, renewable energy deployment and fossil fuel prices. Progress made in renewable energy deployment could be easily undone if we fail to decouple energy use from economic growth and accelerate the move away from fossil fuels, in particular high emissions-intensive fuels such as coal and peat. We need continued progress in energy efficiency in our homes and businesses and an increase in the use of renewables across all technologies in our energy system".
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- In 2015, GDP grew by 7.8% while energy use grew by 5% and energy emissions by 5.2%.
- There was an increased use of coal and peat in electricity generation which contributed to higher emissions growth. There was a 19.6% increase in overall coal use.
- There was a 13.4% increase in overall renewables with wind growing by 28%.
- One quarter of electricity was generated from renewable sources, with wind accounting for just over one fifth of all electricity in 2015.
- The increased generation in wind was almost exactly offset by reduced imports resulting in a neutral effect on emissions intensity.
- Additional demand was met by increased coal and peat at the expense of reduced gas generation causing an increase in overall emissions intensity of 2.3% to 468 g CO2/kWh in 2015.
National Energy Balance
A national energy balance is an accounting framework for the compilation and reconciliation of data on all energy products imported, produced, transformed and consumed in a country during a given year. The energy balance is published around October each year and provides comprehensive information on the energy supply and demand on the national territory in order to understand the energy security situation, the effective functioning of energy markets and other relevant policy goals, as well as to formulate energy policies. The Energy Policy Statistical Support Unit (EPSSU) is SEAI's specialist statistical unit tasked with collecting and collating comprehensive energy supply and use statistics for Ireland. The provisional energy balance is published during quarter two each year when the production, supply and transformation data are reasonably well known.
The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) has a mission to play a leading role in transforming Ireland into a society based on sustainable energy structures, technologies and practices. SEAI is financed by Ireland's EU Structural Funds Programme co-funded by the Irish Government and the European Union.