SEAI REPORT HIGHLIGHTS URGENT NEED TO REDUCE RELIANCE ON FOSSIL FUELS
- Energy demand rose 0.5% in 2017, as economy grew 3.0%
- Carbon dioxide emissions from energy use fell by 2.1%
- 90% of all energy used in Ireland came from fossil fuels
- Ireland became a world leader in renewable electricity as 2017 saw record levels of electricity generation from wind
The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) today published their annual Energy in Ireland report. Energy in Ireland presents the latest national data and trends on energy use and renewable energy in Ireland. This year’s report shows a 0.5% increase in energy demand as the economy grew by 3.0%.
Ireland continues to face a challenge in reducing reliance on fossil fuels for transport, heating and electricity production, with over 90% of all energy used in 2017 from fossil fuels.
Commenting on the urgent need for action to address our energy challenges, Jim Gannon, CEO of SEAI, said: “Despite some areas of good performance in 2017, the bottom line is that we need to accelerate the pace of change. Collectively and individually, we need to use less as we take greater advantage of the renewable energy available to us here in Ireland. SEAI’s Government of Ireland funded grants have already supported energy efficiency improvements in 400,000 homes, which along with other measures like improved building regulations has resulted in the average energy used per dwelling in Ireland now being 30% lower than it was in 2005. The next phase of activity in the residential sector must be a rapid acceleration towards deeper retrofits using the technical, consumer, financial and supply chain learnings from SEAI’s deep retrofit and other programmes.”
The 2018 report also shows energy demand in transport increased by 2% in 2017.
Transport represents the single largest sector of energy use, half of which is private cars. We need a rapid transition from diesel and petrol to electric vehicles. Government funded incentives of varying types have driven a rapid growth in electric car sales, doubling year on year since 2015. Ireland’s geographical extent makes it well suited to electric cars and, while not every driver can switch in the short term, we must ensure that it is considered a real option for the majority of new car purchases from now on. A transition to a largely electrified passenger fleet, along with the consideration of alternative fuels for commercial, public transport and freight is essential.”
The Energy in Ireland report pointed to a reduction of 2.1% in carbon dioxide emissions from energy used in 2017. This reduction is mainly due to increased electricity generation from wind with record levels of capacity installed in 2017, making Ireland a world leader in renewable electricity.
Gannon said: “2017 represented a record year of renewables in our electricity system, and Ireland is a world leader in the level of wind deployed on our grid. However, 70% of our electricity still comes from fossil fuel, with both coal and peat remaining features of our generation mix. We must continue to develop our own renewable energy sources, with the most realisable opportunities represented by incremental increases to our onshore portfolio and significant opportunities in offshore wind, in addition to contributions from solar and domestic biomass production. The development of Irish sources of renewable energy, can create local jobs and encourage inward investment. Renewable energy is essential to support the transition to a sustainable economy – one that is not wedded to the use of imported fossil fuels.”