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

The National Energy Balance is the official record of how energy is used in Ireland each year. It shows how over thirty different fuels are used in seven different sectors of society, including residential, transport, industry and services. It shows the flow of energy from imports and production to transformation and on to final consumption. The National Energy Balance is our primary statistical release and is the basis of much of the further analysis we do. The data is shown in the form of a table.

Developing the National Energy Balance is a continuous and ongoing process, and revisions are made whenever improved data becomes available. We welcome any feedback, which can be sent to epssu@seai.ie.

2020 Energy Balance

This year’s balance casts a light on the impact of COVID-19 on national energy use and the knock-on effects on energy-related CO2 emissions. Energy related CO2 emissions (including international aviation) fell by 11.5% (4.3 million tonnes) in 2020, which is the most significant annual reduction since the height of the economic recession in 2009. The primary driver of this reduction was lower consumption of oil products for transport, which is mainly attributable to the change in national and international travel patterns due to public health measures.

The figures for 2020 show:

  • Total energy consumption fell by 8.8% against a backdrop of a 5.4% contraction of the economy.
  • Total transport energy use was down by over a quarter (26%).
  • Oil-product use decreased by 16.5% - the largest annual reduction observed to date.
  • The single largest reduction in oil-product use was the two-thirds drop in jet kerosene use for international aviation (64.3%).
  • Consumption of road diesel and petrol were down 13.6% and 25.9%, respectively.
  • Peat use fell by a third, mainly due to a halving of peat for electricity generation.
  • The CO2 intensity of electricity improved by 8.1%, due to more renewable generation and less use of peat.
Download 2020 Energy Balance excel file    Download historical Energy Balances

Two additional downloads

This year we have also published two short companion documents to the National Energy Balance, providing further details on the trends in energy related CO₂ emissions and on Ireland's performance against our 2020 renewable energy targets.

Reductions in Energy-related CO₂ Emissions

  • When international aviation is included, energy related CO₂ emissions fell by 11.5%. (4.3 million tonnes of CO₂)
  • Almost half of the observed CO₂ reductions are due to the drop in international aviation.
  • The reduction in oil-product use lowered CO₂ emissions by 3.6 million tonnes, with almost all these savings being made in the transport sector.
  • Reductions in road diesel and petrol use lowered road-related CO₂ emissions by 2 million tonnes.
  • Reductions in peat use saved 1 million tonnes in peat-related CO₂ emissions.

Download the 2020 energy related CO₂ emissions short note

 

Improvements in Renewable Energy

  • Energy from renewable sources grew by over 8% in 2020.
  • 42% of all electricity generated in 2020 came from renewable sources, mainly wind energy.
  • Ireland reached an overall share of 13.5% renewable energy, against a 2020 EU-RES target of 16%.
  • Ireland succeeded against its EU 2020 renewable energy target for transport (10.2% vs. 10%), and just missed its renewable energy target for electricity[*] (39.1% vs. 40%).
  • Ireland achieved just half its 2020 renewable energy target for heating and cooling (6.3% vs. 12%).

[*] The RES-E result is lower than the actual share of electricity generated from renewable sources in 2020 because it is normalised to account for annual variations in weather on wind and hydro energy.

Download the 2020 renewable energy short note

The 2020 Energy Balance confirms that we achieved our EU transport target and came very close on the national renewable electricity target. It also confirms that we have not reached our overall 2020 renewable energy target, and that we achieved just half of our renewable heating and cooling target. Now more than ever, it is essential that we accelerate the deployment of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies, and increase sustainable energy practices across all sectors
William Walsh, CEO, SEAI

Important revisions to historical data

In 2020 we published significant revisions to the historical energy balances going back as far as 1990. This was because we incorporated a major new data set on business energy use for the first time. This is the Business Energy Use Survey (BEUS), first published by the the Central Statistics Office (CSO) in December 2018. This valuable new data source provides a new basis for the breakdown of energy use in the commercial services, public services and industrial sectors, at a level of detail not previously possible. SEAI revised the National Energy Balances from 1990 to 2018 incorporating this new improved data. In some cases the revisions to estimates of business energy use have had knock on effects in other sectors, particularily residential, leading to revisions there also.

There are some significant methodological differences between the BEUS and the National Energy Balances. These differences mean that the BEUS and the National Energy Balance data are not always directly comparable. To make use of the BEUS, the data needs to be carefully examined and compared on a fuel by fuel and sector by sector basis, and expert judgement is required to assess the most appropriate use of the data.

Due to the scale and importance of these revisions we have prepared a supporting report. This report explains the new data that is available, the methodology for incorporating it into the National Energy Balance, and a detailed comparison between the old and revised Energy Balance data for each fuel and sector. We have also made available a supporting excel spreadsheet comparing the old and revised data.

More information on the BEUS is also available directly from the CSO:

https://www.cso.ie/en/methods/surveybackgroundnotes/businessenergyuse/

Download Energy Balance Revisions    Download Energy Balance Revisions (excel)