€245m of fossil fuel savings from use of renewable electricity in 2012

The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) released the results of a comprehensive study of Ireland’s electricity system throughout the whole of 2012 [pdf, 5.6MB]. The study shows that renewable electricity resulted in greatly reduced use of gas, coal and peat, saving Ireland €245 million in fossil fuels and reducing CO2 emissions by 1.9 million tonnes.

The Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Mr Pat Rabbitte, T.D., welcomed the study saying: “We now have a thorough and robust study which sets out the significant energy security and cost benefits that Ireland can realise from using wind and other renewable based electricity. Ireland needs to continue along this path of sustainable deployment of renewable energy, in a way which respects local communities and circumstances”.

SEAI analysed in detail the actual performance of the electricity system in 2012 and compared that to what would have been the case were no renewable sources used. The study considered a whole range of factors including ramping effects, cycling effects, contingency reserve, network constraints, wind characteristics, generator availability, and cross-border electricity trade.

Speaking at the launch of the study, Dr Brian Motherway, CEO of SEAI, said: “This study is most comprehensive in the way it analyses the real-time operation of the all-island electricity system. The analysis definitively addresses factors frequently cited as significant by renewable energy opponents, showing that the benefits are still substantial. It is an important contribution to ensuring that the renewable energy debate is based upon facts and evidence.”

He concluded: “This report reinforces the critically important argument about the need for Ireland to make the most of our own national resources, keeping money in the Irish economy and gaining much needed greater independence in our energy system.”