Ireland’s renewable electricity increased to 25% in 2015

Three million tonnes of CO2 emissions avoided in 2015 due to renewable electricity

Media release

31st August, 2016: Renewable electricity increased significantly in 2015, contributing a quarter of all electricity used and avoiding 3 million tonnes of fossil-fuel related CO2 emissions, according to a report published today by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI). The report, Renewable Electricity in Ireland 2015, shows that renewables contributed the second largest source of electricity last year behind gas and ahead of coal.

Over 80% of renewable electricity generated in Ireland came from wind power accounting for three quarters of the avoided CO2 emissions.  The remaining renewable electricity came from a range of technologies, including hydropower, biomass, waste and landfill gas.  The contribution from biomass and renewable wastes includes biomass combined heat and power; co-firing in Edenderry peat-fired power plant; and approximately half of the waste consumed in the waste-to-energy plant in Meath.

Commenting on the figures Dr Eimear Cotter, SEAI Head of Low Carbon Technologies said "Ireland is making significant progress in decarbonising our electricity system. Renewable energy accounted for a quarter of our electricity requirements in 2015, dramatically reducing fossil fuel imports. It also avoided 3 million tonnes of CO2 being released into the atmosphere, contributing to action on climate change.  In addition, the economy benefits from the use of local and indigenous renewable energy which brings with it local jobs and

enterprise opportunities.

Concluding Dr Cotter said: “We know that renewables in electricity generation helps to lower CO2 emissions, but we still have an electricity system that is heavily reliant on carbon emitting fossil fuels. With 2020 renewable electricity targets approaching, we need to intensify action to increase the contribution of all renewables in our electricity mix.

Click here to download Renewable Electricity in Ireland 2015



Editors Notes

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

Progress towards targets

Renewable energy contributed 9.1% of Gross Final Energy Consumption in 2015. This compares with a target of 16% to be reached by 2020.

The share of electricity from renewable energy was 25.3% (normalised) in 2015, over half way to the RES-E target of 40% in 2020.


Renewable Electricity (RES-E)

Electricity from renewable energy sources more than quadrupled its share of gross electricity generation since 1990 going from 4.9% in 1990 to 27.3% (non-normalised) in 2015. During this time the absolute amount of electricity from renewables increased eleven fold from 697 GWh to 7,857GWh.

Use of renewables in fuels used for electricity generation increased by 18.8% in 2015. The largest increase was in wind, with an increase of 27.9%, accounting for 12.6% or approximately one eighth of fuels used.

Electricity generated from wind and hydro (normalised) in 2015 accounted for 21.1% and 2.5%, respectively, of Ireland’s gross electrical consumption. Biomass and renewable waste accounted for 1.0%, landfill gas for 0.6%, biogas for 1.0% and 0.01% from solar.

Over 80% of renewable electricity generated came from wind power, with installed generating capacity reaching 2,440 MW.

CO2 Intensity and Avoided Emissions

The carbon intensity of electricity increased by 2.5% to 467.5 CO2/kWh in 2015 mostly due to increased use of coal for electricity generation.

Renewable energy in electricity generation is estimated to have avoided greenhouse gas emissions of 3,188 ktCO2 in 2015.

It is estimated that wind energy avoided 2,436 ktCO2, followed by hydro at 323 ktCO2 and solid biomass at 203 ktCO2 in 2015.

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