smoke from chimneys. Photo: NUI Galway

Ireland set to miss 2020 energy emissions targets

May 16th, 2019

Ireland’s recent reduction in energy emissions is not significant enough to meet our 2020 EU target, new Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland figures reveal.

The authority’s National Projections Report forecasts that 13 per cent of Ireland’s energy will come from renewable sources by 2020, three per cent short of our European target of 16 per cent.

The report states that carbon emissions from the energy sector – heat, electricity and transport – experienced a 1.8 per cent drop in 2018 partly due to increases in renewable energy share.

This drop, however, was mainly due to a once-off outage at Moneypoint power station last year which resulted in a significant reduction in coal use for electricity generation.

Moneypoint is one of Ireland’s largest generating stations with a total generation capacity of 915MW, making up over one-fifth of electricity generation in 2016.

Last December, The Green News revealed that all three coal-fired units at ESB’s Moneypoint power station were out of action for several two months due to a forced outage at the Co Clare facility.

No coal has been used for electricity generation in the Republic of Ireland over the past month according to the latest EirGrid data.

Moneypoint Power Station - nocturne in blue and gold
Moneypoint Power Station Photo: Tiger

Fossil fuel reliance

Ireland’s reliance on fossil fuels for heating is reportedly one of the most significant contributors to the shortfall in hitting our energy targets, with the country ranking 26th in the EU for its use of renewable energy for heating.

It was also recently highlighted at a hearing of the Oireachtas Committee on Planning that the number of houses requiring energy efficiency retrofits is increasing as the State still allows fossil fuel boilers to be installed in new build home.

Jim Gannon, the CEO of SEAI said that the new findings must prompt a steadfast approach to making Ireland an energy efficient country.

 “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,” he said.

Mr Gannon continued that the Government also needs to urgently generate heat using renewable energy sources while promoting eco-conscious modes of travel to combat carbon emissions.

Earlier this week, The Green News revealed that several schools under a State energy efficiency pilot scheme will undergo conversion from oil systems to gas heating systems.

Only one of the 17 schools selected for the scheme is being assessed for possible conversion from an oil heating set-up to an air source heat pump.

Workers installing solar panels Photo: skeeze

Sleepwalking into a climate disaster

Commenting on the report’s findings, the Social Democrats accused the State of significant failure in curtailing carbon emission, adding that Ireland is “sleepwalking into a climate disaster”.

The party’s co-leader, Catherine Murphy TD accused Fine Gael of “shirking its responsibility” to the planet and the country.

“Ireland’s over-reliance on non-renewable heating is a major contributory factor to these poor results,” she said.

“We need to see substantially increased support for offshore wind, blue energy, electric cars, and a fair level of carbon tax that penalises polluters but doesn’t push people into poverty.”

About the Author

Shamim Malekmian

Shamim is a Senior Reporter at The Green News and a contributing writer to the Irish Examiner, Cork Evening Echo and the Dublin Inquirer.

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