Ireland is ‘not on track to meet any of its 2020 renewable energy targets’, a new report says


IRELAND is not on track to meet any of its 2020 renewable energy targets, according to a new report by Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland.

The report, which is based on 2018 data, provides a detailed analysis of the country’s progress towards the 2020 renewable energy targets and places the country 26th of 28 European countries on progress so far.

Jim Scheer, Head of Data and Insights at Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland, commented: “This report demonstrates the challenges we face in transitioning away from fossil fuels.

“Most of the energy we use to generate electricity, to heat our homes and business and for transport comes from burning fossil fuels like gas, coal, peat and oil.

“We need to eliminate energy waste and transition to using more renewable sources of energy like wind, solar, heat pumps and bioenergy as quickly as we can.

“The Government’s Climate Action Plan sets out an ambitious course of action that could help us to kick our fossil fuel habit and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“As citizens, we can play our part by considering how we can reduce fossil fuel use in our homes and how we travel.”

Renewable energy sources supplied 11% of overall energy use in 2018 with the remainder coming from carbon intensive fossil fuels.

This data suggests that Ireland is not on track to meet its binding EU target of 16% of energy to come from renewable sources by 2020.

There are further targets for each of the three main modes of energy use: Electricity, Transport and Heat.

In 2018, 33% of electricity was generated from renewable sources, largely due to increased generation from wind.

Ireland is one of the world leaders on renewable electricity, with the second highest share of wind generated electricity in the 28 EU countries.

The story for transport and heat is different.

Transport has the largest share of energy use, and in 2018 97% of transport energy was from oil-based products.

The vast majority of renewable energy in transport came from biofuels blended with petrol and diesel, with renewable electricity used by DART, Luas and electric vehicles accounting for approximately 1%.

According to the report, Ireland is also under-performing in renewable heat and ranked 27th of the 28 EU countries in 2018.

Over 93% of the country’s energy for heat comes from fossil fuels.

In the summer of 2019 the Irish government published its Climate Action Plan, which seeks the country to reduce its carbon emissions by 30 per cent between 2021 and 2030 and achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

According to the report, delivery of the Climate Action Plan has the potential to reshape Ireland’s energy landscape by shifting from fossil fuels to renewable energy.

Richard Bruton T.D., Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, added: “This report is based on 2018 data which pre-dates the Climate Action Plan.

“The findings underline the importance and urgency of the work set out in that Plan.

“I am convinced that the all of government approach underpinned by new Climate legislation is the way forward.

“However, getting back on track for our 2030 target is only the first step.

“We now need to identify how we can increase that ambition and set new targets for 2030 and 2050.

“As we design a Recovery Plan from this present Covid crisis, we need to do everything possible to rebuild on a sustainable foundation, consistent with confronting the Climate Emergency.”

The report can be read here