Individuals, businesses and communities are central to addressing the problem according to SEAI

12 December 2017: Ireland’s energy use is not reducing fast enough and individuals, businesses and communities will be central to addressing the problem according to Jim Gannon, Chief Executive of the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI). Gannon was speaking at the launch of SEAI’s report “Energy in Ireland 1990-2016” which presents the latest national data and trends on energy efficiency and renewable energy in Ireland.

Despite energy use growing at a slower rate (3.7%) compared to the economy (5.1%), Ireland is not decoupling economic growth from energy use quickly enough. Commenting on the urgency of our energy situation and its impact on climate change, he said:

Each of us, in our homes and businesses, has a personal responsibility to find ways to be more energy efficient. No one organisation or policy can address the problem of climate change in isolation – it needs urgent action across our society.”

Gannon continued: “While our cars and homes are becoming more efficient, and we are investing record amounts in efficiency policies, these actions on their own may not get us to where we need to be. There is something you can do today that will make a real difference – whether it’s turning down the thermostat, switching off a light, looking at energy ratings of appliances when you buy, or choosing an electric car. Supports are available to help with this and all of us, as homeowners, businesses and motorists need to make better choices and in much greater numbers. “

The report pointed to the reduction of our energy import dependency to 69% in 2016, down from 88% the previous year. This helped to lower our annual energy import bill to €3.4 billion from €4.6 billion. Remaining cautious on the impact of this turnaround, Gannon said;

The significant reduction in our import dependence gives us a more dependable energy supply in the short term. However, this was heavily reliant on Corrib gas, a finite fossil fuel. This may give us a window of opportunity but it is not a long term solution. Encouragingly, one fifth of indigenous energy was from renewables in 2016. This represents positive growth but there is room for much more activity, and across a broader range of technologies. Generating our own renewable electricity is critical to achieving our overall energy and climate ambitions. “

In 2016 Ireland became a net electricity exporter for the first time since 2001, primarily because of a high carbon floor price in the UK, where there was also a squeeze on capacity.  This additional supply was largely met by gas generation. However, with lower than normal levels of wind and hydro energy, a side-effect was that supplying this demand marginally raised Irelands carbon intensity of electricity. Gannon said;

“This demonstrates the complex nature of being part of an interconnected electricity system.  In years to come, with greater and more diversified capacity and more typical levels of wind and hydro, interconnection will play an even more important role, so it is an important milestone for us.”

Gannon concluded, “The bottom line is that change has to come, and we need to continue to use less as we develop alternative Irish sources of energy. Householders, businesses and communities continue to play an important role and are encouraged to avail of the range of government funded supports available through SEAI.”


To see the full copy of Energy in Ireland 1990-2016, 2017 Report, visit