SEAI's annual publication presents the latest official statistics on energy use in Ireland. View our insights and download the full 2020 report.

Latest energy trends in Ireland

Our annual publication looks at trends in national energy use and at the underlying driving forces, such as the economy and weather. It also examines greenhouse gas emissions from energy use, energy security, cost competitiveness, and our progress towards EU renewable energy targets.

The data provided in this report is a key strand in the evidence base that SEAI provides to support the transition to a carbon neutral society.

  • +3.2%

    The amount the economy grew in 2019
  • -1.2%

    Reduction in overall energy use in 2019
  • -4.5%

    Reduction in energy-related CO₂ emissions in 2019

Final energy demand fell by 0.6% in 2019, the first time it has reduced since 2014, but this was mostly due to milder weather. Primary energy demand, which includes energy lost in electricity generation and other transformation sectors, fell by 1.2%.

CO2 emissions from fossil fuels fell by 4.5% in 2019, the largest yearly reduction in energy related CO2 emissions since 2011, at the height of the last recession. Most of the progress was in electricity generation, with little improvement in transport, or in heat when the impact of the warmer weather is taken into account.

 

The stagnating progress in reducing heat demand is a major cause for concern given the large share of our total fossil fuel consumption used for heat. The Government has laid out very strong targets for decarbonising how we use heat in our homes and businesses, and is making this a national priority. As Ireland’s National Retrofit Delivery Body, SEAI is collaborating with Government and a broad range of stakeholders to support households and businesses to take action. This work will accelerate in 2021 thanks to increased budgets recently committed by Government. 
William Walsh, SEAI CEO

Findings from our key energy sectors

Transport

  • Heavy goods vehicles showed the strongest growth in energy use in transport in 2019, increasing by 7.4%.
  • Transport energy use increased by 0.5%, but CO2 emissions from transport decreased by 0.1%, due to increased biofuel blending in petrol and diesel.
  • Electric vehicles made up 3.0% of new private cars in 2019, but just 0.3% of the total stock of private cars.

Heat

  • Energy use for heat in homes and businesses decreased by 3.1%. When corrected for weather the decrease was 0.7%.
  • Energy use for heat in industry decreased by 1.0%, while energy use for heat in services increased by 1.0%.
  • Heat in households decreased by 5.9%, when corrected for weather the decrease was 2.1%.

Electricity

  • The carbon intensity of electricity fell by 14% in 2019 to 324 gCO2/kWh. This was is the lowest level recorded in over 70 years.
  • This was due to a 70% reduction in coal use for electricity generation, which is much less efficient and more carbon intensive than gas or renewables.
  • Coal and peat generated just 8% of electricity, but were responsible for 29% of electricity CO2 emissions. The remaining CO2 emissions from electricity generation are almost all from gas.
  • Wind generation accounted for 32% of all electricity generated and avoided 3.9 million tonnes of CO2 emissions.

Ireland's energy balance 2019

Oil,TPER,7193
Nat. Gas,TPER,4571
Coal,TPER,380
Peat,TPER,629
Wind,TPER,862
Other Renewables,TPER,767
Non-Renewable Wastes,TPER,145
Electricity Imports,TPER,55
TPER,Transformation & other losses,2215
TPER,TFC,12415
Transformation & other losses,Briquetting,8
Transformation & other losses,Natural Gas Own Use/Loss,66
Transformation & other losses,Oil Refining,81
Transformation & other losses,Electricity Transformation & Distribution Losses,2060
TFC,Agriculture & Fisheries,246
TFC,Commercial/Public,1760
TFC,Industry,2295
TFC,Residential,2886
TFC,Transport,5228
Source: SEAI

Main points for 2019

Demand for fossil fuels fell by 3% in 2019, to 12,774 ktoe, which was 17% lower than in 2005. Despite this progress, 87% of all energy used in Ireland in 2019 still came from fossil fuels, with almost a half of all energy use from oil, mostly for transport.

The following are the main trends in national fuel use for 2019:

Oil

Oil continues to be the dominant energy source and maintained a 49% share of total primary energy in 2019. The share of oil in overall energy use peaked in 1999 at 60%. Consumption of oil increased by just 0.1% in 2019, to 7,193 ktoe, but was still 21% lower than in 2005.

Natural gas

Natural gas use increased by 2.0% in 2019, and its share of total primary energy increased to 31%. Natural gas use was 30% higher than in 2005.

Coal and Peat

Coal use decreased by 53% in 2019, and its share of total primary energy fell to 2.6% down from 10.5% in 2015. Since  2005, coal use has fallen by 80% (10.8% per annum). Most of the reduction has been in electricity generation.

Peat use fell by 8.3% in 2019 and its share of overall energy use was 4.3%.

Renewable energy

Total renewable energy increased by 10.3% during 2019. Hydro and wind increased by 28% and 16% respectively. Biomass use fell by 3.9% in 2019 and other renewables increased by 15%.

The overall share of renewables in primary energy stood at 11.2% in 2019, up from 10% in 2018.

Electricity

Ireland became a net importer of electricity in 2019 for the first time since 2015. Net electricity imports were 55 ktoe, making up 2.1% of electricity generated by just 0.4% of total primary energy.

Progress towards renewable energy targets

 20192020 Target
Overall Renewable12.016
Renewable Transport8.910
Renewable Heat6.312
Renewable Electricity36.540
Source: SEAI

Ireland's target is for renewable energy to make up 16% of Gross Final Energy Consumption by 2020. We are not on track to meet this 2020 target. In 2019 it stood at 12.0%, up from 10.9% in 2018.

Renewable energy avoided 5.8 million tonnes of CO2 emissions and €500 million of fossil fuel imports in 2019.

Renewable Transport

The share of energy used for transport from renewable sources (RES-T) increased from 7.2% in 2018 to 8.9% in 2019, due to an increase in the requirements on fuel suppliers to blend biofuels with the petrol and diesel that they supply.

Renewable Heat

The share of energy used for heat from renewable sources (RES-H) remained flat at 6.3% in 2019.

Renewable Electricity

Electricity generated from wind and hydro is normalised to even out annual variations in wind and rainfall. Normalised renewable electricity increased from 33.3% in 2018 to 36.5% in 2019. 86% of renewable electricity in 2019 came from wind.

Energy in Ireland Report

The full report presents the latest national data and trends on energy efficiency and renewable energy in Ireland. It also looks at how these energy trends relate to Government and EU renewable energy targets.

Download the reportDownload the infographic

Download graph data

Here you can access the data behind all of the graphs in this year's Energy in Ireland report. The data is provided in Microsoft Excel format.

Download Graph Data

Your feedback

We welcome your feedback and comments on this report. Please send your email to epssu@seai.ie.