The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) today published the 2019 National Energy Projections Report. This annual report tracks Ireland’s progress towards our 2030 and 2050 emissions targets.

There has been a significant increase in renewable energy share in Ireland over the past number of years. In 2005, 5% of Ireland’s energy came from renewable sources. The report today forecasts that approximately 13% of Ireland’s energy will come from renewable sources by 2020. The reduction in carbon dioxide emissions will be the equivalent to taking 1.6 million cars off the road.

However, what this report shows, is that there is still a significant way to go to achieving our European target of 16% and Ireland will not meet EU 2020 targets. The all of government climate plan, due to be published shortly, will deliver the necessary step up required to ensure Ireland meets its obligations into the future.

The SEAI are today also publishing provisional data on energy use in Ireland in 2018. This data shows that carbon emissions from energy (including heat, electricity and transport) fell by 1.8% in 2018. This was mainly due to a once-off outage at Moneypoint power station which resulted in a significant reduction in coal use for electricity generation, and an increased contribution from renewable energy sources, primarily wind, and natural gas.

Key Stats

  • 16%

    of Ireland's energy needs to come from renewable sources by 2020 to meet EU targets
  • 13%

    of Ireland's resources forecasted to come from renewables by 2020
  • 1.8%

    reduction in carbon emissions from energy in Ireland in 2018
These projections underline the need to create a new policy roadmap which will inject momentum into the task of tackling climate disruption. Our all of government Climate Plan which will be published shortly, will deliver the necessary step up required to ensure Ireland meet’s its obligations into the future. We know that a significant step is required to decarbonise our energy supply, especially in the heat sector which has been a particular challenge. Renewable electricity has performed relatively well, but we will be pushing ourselves further in the policies and actions outlined in the upcoming plan.
Richard Bruton TD, Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment

Commenting on the findings Jim Gannon, CEO of SEAI, said;

“As a country we must continue to make progress on energy efficiency across all sectors and rapidly increase the adoption of renewables across heating, electricity and transport, if we are serious about reducing Ireland’s carbon emissions.”

Contributing to the shortfall on the renewable energy target was an under-performance on renewable heat. Ireland placed 26 out of the 28 Member States for renewable energy for heat. For almost all Member States the share of renewable heat is the most important factor influencing the share of overall renewable energy. Ireland has specific challenges in the heating sector shared by only a small number of other Member States. Progress on renewable heat will be crucial to meet the overall renewable energy targets and will be promoted by recent announcements including the support scheme for renewable heat, and work to deliver district heating networks in Ireland.

Alongside increased efficiency, we need to make urgent progress on renewable heat in both the residential and commercial sector as this will be a key element in reaching our targets.  We also need to  work collectively on promoting ways of travel that are less carbon intensive, such as cycling, walking and public transport, as well electric vehicles for private car use and commercial fleets. The development of Irish sources of renewable energy can create local jobs and encourage inward investment and is essential to support the transition to a sustainable economy. Harnessing Ireland’s ocean energy resources, and in particular delivering on the natural resource that we have in offshore wind, will be key to achieving targets for 2030 and beyond.