The National Energy Balance presents detailed information on how and where energy is used in Ireland for a given year.
The Balance shows the flow of energy from production and transformation to total final consumption. This is shown in the form of a table. The National Energy Balance is our primary statistical release. It is the basis of much of the further analysis we do.
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 email@example.com.
2020 Provisional Energy Balance
Key points from the 2020 Provisional Energy Balance:
CO₂ emissions from energy use fell 12.4% in 2020, a reduction of 4.6 million tonnes of CO₂. This means that CO₂ emissions from fossil fuels used for energy were the lowest since 1993 and were 31% below 2005 levels. This marks the biggest annual reduction in CO₂ emissions since 2009. Oil products used for transport accounted for the largest reduction in energy use, attributable to the public health travel restrictions.
The figures for 2020 show:
- Overall energy use fell by 9.2%, relative to an economic contraction of 5.4% (Modified Domestic Demand).
- Energy related CO₂ emissions fell by 12.4% or 4.6 million tonnes of CO₂. Almost half of this reduction, 2.1 million tonnes of CO₂, was from international aviation.
- Oil use decreased by 16.5% in 2020, equivalent to 3.6 million tonnes of CO₂. This was the largest annual reduction in oil use ever.
- Almost all the reduction in oil use was in transport, this was because of restrictions and disruptions during the public health emergency. Total transport energy use was down 25.9%
- The largest reduction in oil products was in jet kerosene, which was down 64.4% (2.1 million tonnes of CO₂), followed by road diesel, down 13.6% (1.3 million tonnes of CO₂), and petrol, down 24.1% (0.6 million tonnes of CO₂).
- Peat use fell by 33.6% (1.0 million tonnes of CO₂) mostly through a halving of peat used for electricity generation.
- Energy from renewable sources grew by 8.5% in 2020.
- 42.0% of electricity generated was from renewable sources in 2020, 36.1% was generated from wind.
- The CO₂ intensity of electricity fell by 8.8% to a new low of 296 gCO₂/kWh. This is less than a third what it was in 1990, due to less use of coal, oil and peat, and more renewables and high efficiency gas turbines.
- For Ireland’s 2020 EU renewable energy targets, the share of renewable energy in transport (RES-T) was 9.9%, compared to the EU target of 10%. The normalised share of renewable electricity (RES-E) in 2020 was 38.9%.
The full 2020 National Energy Balance will be finalised and published in October 2021.
 The normalisation calculation as prescribed in Annex II of the Renewable Energy Directive (2009/28/EC) applies to electricity generated from hydropower and wind power and is designed to even out the effects of weather variation.Download 2020 Energy Balance excel file
2019 Energy Balance
Key points from the 2019 Energy Balance:
CO₂ emissions from all energy use fell 4.5% in 2019, a reduction of 1.76 million tonnes of CO₂. This marks the biggest annual reduction in CO₂ emissions since 2011, at the height of the last recession. Most of the progress was in electricity generation, with little improvement in heat and transport. The fall in CO₂ emissions was mostly due to a 70% year-on-year reduction in coal used for generating electricity. Energy used for heat in homes and businesses was down in 2019, though most of the reduction was due to it being warmer than 2018. Transport, the sector that consumes most fossil fuels and where we emit most CO₂, showed no reduction in energy use, and only a marginal reduction in CO₂ emissions.
The figures for 2019 show:
- Overall CO₂ emissions from fossil energy use fell by 4.5%, a reduction of 1.76 million tonnes of CO₂.
- Overall energy use fell by 1.2% while the economy grew by 3.2%, as measured by modified domestic demand.
- Energy from renewable sources accounted for 12% of all energy used, up from 10.9% in 2018. Using renewable energy avoided 5.8 million tonnes of CO₂ – the majority of which (4.8 million tonnes) was from renewable electricity.
- Overall CO₂ emissions from electricity generation fell by 12% (1.2 million tonnes of CO₂). In 2019 wind supplied one third of all electricity.
- Heat energy use fell by 3.1%, mostly due to it being warmer than 2018. CO₂ emissions from energy used for heat fell by 4.3% (0.6 million tonnes of CO₂).
- Transport energy use increased slightly (by 0.5%) but CO₂ emissions fell marginally. This was mostly due to increased blending of biofuels with petrol and diesel.
The progress we are making in electricity illustrates how replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy leads to emissions reductions – a direct climate action. Increased focus is now being given to how to reduce, and eventually eliminate fossil fuels from heating and transport
Important revisions to historical data
In this release we have also published significant revisions to the historical energy balances going back as far as 1990. This is because we have 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 have 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:
Download Report on Energy Balance Revisions Download Excel file on Energy Balance Revisions
Previous Energy Balances
The energy balance for every year since 1990 is also available to download.Download historical Energy Balances