The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) today published its annual Energy in Ireland report which presents Ireland’s progress on the sustainable energy transition.
Overall energy demand in 2018 rose by 1.6%, linked with economic growth of 1.7% (as measured by Modified Domestic Demand). Total energy-related CO2 emissions fell by 1.2% and are now almost one fifth below 2005 levels. This was due mainly to less coal and more wind used for electricity generation. Energy use for transport and heat increased, leading to increased emissions in those sectors.
The substantial transition to renewable energy sources for electricity means the carbon intensity of every unit of electricity fell to a new low (375 gCO2/kWh) and is now less than half what it was in 2000.
This report shows the progress Ireland is making in our sustainable energy transition, particularly in relation to electricity. However, while emissions from electricity decreased, emissions from how we travel and heat our homes and businesses increased. And overall, the rate of emission reductions will not keep us on track to meet our long-term decarbonisation goals.
“To achieve our targets, we need to tackle it in every part of society. We as citizens can play our part by reducing energy use and emissions from our homes and transport. There are a wide range of Government supports available from SEAI, which have already supported 420,000 home energy upgrades and the purchase of 8,900 electric vehicles. However, we need to continue to work together to encourage more uptake.”
“Ireland has a significant challenge in the transport sector. For example, energy use for air travel has reached an all-time high and is now second only to private cars as a share of transport energy. This is a perfect example of the tug of war between a desire to reduce greenhouse gas emissions on the one hand and the increased energy demands of an improving economy on the other.”
This report shows the big structural changes that we need to make. It confirms the significant progress on electricity that we have made to date and are now going to accelerate. However, in the non-ETS sectors there is a more mixed picture but it is clear that a big shift has to occur. These findings underpin the urgent action we need to take in implementing the Climate Action Plan. This Plan is our roadmap forward.
The Climate Action Plan, published earlier this year, is the government’s plan to ensure we radically reduce our emissions in every sector to ensure we meet our future climate commitments. The report being published today, relates to 2018, before the Climate Action Plan was published.