The National Energy Balance presents detailed information on how and where energy is used in Ireland for a given year.

SEAI is responsible for publishing Ireland’s Energy Balance, which provides a complete overview of Ireland’s energy supply by source, energy transformations, and the final energy demand by sector. Data from SEAI’s Energy Balance allows energy-mode and renewable energy shares to be calculated. The Energy Balance is also an important input into the greenhouse gas inventory maintained by Environmental Protection Agency, which is used to track Ireland’s progress against 2025 and 2030 carbon budgets.

SEAI works to continuously improve the statistical methodology and coverage of the Energy Balance, balancing the availability of new data sources with the need for long-term stability for cross-year comparisons. We welcome feedback to

Highlights of the 2021 Energy Balance

  • 5.4%

    Energy Related CO2 up
  • 7.1%

    Transport Demand up
  • 12.5%

    Renewable Energy Share

Although, Ireland has committed to reducing its CO2 emissions by 4.8% per annum from 2021- 2025 under the first carbon budget, energy related emissions were instead up 5.4% in 2021. They are now back at the same level as 2019 after a temporary reduction due to COVID-related restrictions.

A rebound in car use after the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions is a significant contributor to Ireland’s increased emissions. Energy demand for transport rose by 7.1% from its significant suppression in 2020. While this may be expected, it underlines the urgent requirement for change in the transport sector with a necessary shift to cycling, walking, public transport, and electric vehicles and eliminating unnecessary car journeys.

Due to a low wind year for renewable generation in 2021, we used more coal and oil for electricity generation, which increased the carbon intensity of our electricity by 12.5%

Downloading the 2021 Energy Balance

Download the Energy Balance Tables from 2021 -1990 and also our Bubble Plot Summary of totals in the 2021 Energy Balance

Energy Balance TablesEnergy Balance Summary

Energy-related CO2

  • 35.5 MtCO2

    Energy Related CO2 was
  • 86.1%

    Primary Supply from Fossil Fuels
  • 5.4%

    Energy Related CO2 up
  • Energy-related CO2 accounts for over half of all emissions in Ireland (35.5 MtCO2, including international aviation)
  • Total energy supply increased by 3.6% compared to 2020, and 86.1% of that energy supply is derived from fossil fuels
  • Legally binding carbon budgets commit Ireland to reducing our CO2 emissions by 4.8% per annum from 2021 to 2025. Energy emissions increased by 5.4% in 2021
  • 2021’s in-year increase can largely be attributed to the 7.1% rebound in transport energy demand after the easing of COVID restrictions, and the increased use of carbon intensive fuels in electricity generation.
  • Due to a low wind year for renewable generation, we used more coal and oil for electricity generation, which increased the carbon intensity of our electricity by 12.5%
  • Provisional estimates for energy demand in 2022, based on extrapolations of January to September’s monthly data suggest a stronge rebound in 2022 of +6% in energy demand, indicating that Ireland’s energy demand has almost fully recovered to its pre-COVID 2019 levels

Renewable Energy

  • 12.5%

    Renewable Energy Share
  • 58%

    Wind accounted for Renewable Energy
  • 15.4%

    Renewable Energy from Wind down
  • From 2021, REDI was replaced by the second Renewable Energy Directive (REDII), which continues to promote the growth of renewable energy out to 2030. REDII sets new targets and criteria to be met by Ireland in 2030 and the interim. REDII introduced a binding EU-wide target for overall RES of 32% in 2030 and requires Member States to set their national contributions to the EU-wide target.

  • In addition to specifying new EU and national renewable energy targets, REDII also introduced new sustainability and verification criteria for biomass fuels (solid and gaseous) from the beginning of 2021. The introduction of these criteria has led to circumstances where a significant portion of the biomass fuel consumed in Ireland in 2021 cannot be included in the national renewable shares, specifically the overall RES, RES-E and RES-H.

  • This has resulted in Ireland’s overall renewable energy share dropping to 12.5% in 2021, down from 13.5% in 2020. As per the National Energy and Climate Plant (NECP) 2021-2030, Ireland’s overall RES target is 34.1% in 2030.  

  • Renewable energy from wind generation was down by 15.4% due to low-wind conditions last year. While 2021 saw only a modest increase in wind capacity (0.8%), wind energy still accounted for 50.9% of all renewable energy.

  • Ireland’s renewable energy shares for electricity, transport, and heat for 2021 according to the REDII methodologies:

    • Ireland’s 2021 renewable energy share for electricity was 36.4%. We need to more than double our renewable energy share of electricity in the next eight-years, while simultaneously increasing overall electricity supply, to meet the 2030 target of 80% of electricity from renewable sources as set out in Ireland’s Climate Action Plan.

    • Our renewable energy share for transport was 4.3% in 2021. REDII set a new RES-T target of 14% by 2030.

    • Ireland’s renewable energy share of heat was 5.2% in 2021. As the EU’s Renewable Energy Directive is revised, and supplemented by REPowerEU, Ireland’s new binding renewable targets out to 2030 will soon become clear.

Energy in Transport

  • 34.0%

    Transport responsible for 34.0% of Energy Related CO2
  • 95.5%

    Transport energy from fossil fuels
  • 8.3%

    Transport Demand up
  • The transport sector emitted 12.0 MtCO2 in 2021 and accounted for 34.0% of Ireland’s total energy emissions. Transport remained the most carbon intensive demand sector, with 95.5% of transport energy demand coming from fossil fuels.
  • Rebounding from 2020 COVID-related travel restrictions, energy demand for transport increased by 7.1% in 2021, and was a significant driver of the overall increase in Ireland’s energy-related emission this year.
  • Private car use is by far the largest transport sub-sector, and accounts for 43.0% of all transport energy demand. Energy demand by private cars is 67% greater than the combined demand of both heavy goods and light goods commercial vehicles on Irish roads. These numbers highlight the urgent need to reduce the climate impact of private car use by increasing the number of journeys we make by foot, by bicycle, and on public transport, while simultaneously replacing petrol and diesel cars with EVs.
  • Backed by €68 million in SEAI administered grants for EVs and chargers, 2021 saw a threefold annual increase in the number of EVs added to Irish roads. However, significant further acceleration is needed to reach the target of 850,000 EVs by 2030 set out in Ireland’s climate action plan, which also calls for further electrification of bus and rail fleets, with 1,500 electric buses by 2030.

Residential Energy

  • 27.5%

    Residential Sector responsible for 27.5% of Energy Related CO2
  • 41.4%

    Oil accounts for Residential Energy Demand
  • 4.2%

    Residential demand down
  • The residential sector emitted 9.8 MtCO2 in 2021, which was 27.5% of Ireland’s total energy emissions
  • Oil remains the dominant source of residential energy demand, and accounted for 41% of all home energy use, followed by electricity at 25% and gas at 19%. Coal and peat accounted for 6.0% and 5.9% of home energy demand, respectively.
  • Residential energy demand fell by 4.1% in 2021
  • Residential use of coal, peat, and oil all fell appreciably in 2021. Coal demand reduced by 4.9%, peat demand by 5.0%, and oil by 9.1%. However, residential demand for gas increased by 0.9%.
  • In terms of renewable energy, heat-pumps provided 1.5% of residential energy demand, followed by biomass at 0.9%, and solar-thermal heating at 0.5%.
  • Approximately 0.2% of residential energy demand was satisfied by own generation using rooftop solar PV, up by 43% on the previous year.
  • Over 11,000 SEAI home energy upgrades were carried-out in 2021, and many more will need to be delivered each year to reach the Climate Action Plan target of retrofitting 500,000 homes to a B2 equivalent BER standard by 2030

Energy in Business

  • 34.9%

    Energy in Business responsible for 30.4% of Energy Related CO2
  • 3.9%

    The ICT sector accounts for 3.9% of Ireland’s energy demand
  • 17.9%

    Energy demand in the ICT sector increased
  • Ireland’s business activities consist of our industry sector, which emitted 6.2 MtCO2 in 2021, and our commercial and public services sectors, which emitted 6.3 MtCO2. Together, the industry and services sectors accounted for 34.9% of Ireland’s energy demand in 2021, increasing by 2.3% from 2020.
  • Within the industry sector, the top sub-sectors are food and beverages (22.3%), metals and metal products (21.0%) and other non-metallic mineral products (20.0%).
  • The ICT sub-sector, which includes datacentres, accounted for 3.9% of Ireland’s total energy demand, and 16.5% of its electricity demand. Energy demand in the ICT sub-sector increased by 17.9% in 2021.
  • The industry sector has high fossil fuel dependency, with 45.5% of its energy demand satisfied by gas, and 14.9% satisfied by oil. In contrast, energy demand in the services sector was dominated by electricity, which accounts for 66.4% of its overall demand.
“The message is very clear, we urgently need to limit our current level of fossil fuel use. The Government is investing more money in supporting homes and businesses to do this and we are seeing real momentum. However, we need to see a dramatic increase in sustainable energy action to reverse these trends and stay within our carbon budgets.”
Margie McCarthy, Director of Research and Policy Insights, SEAI