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Ireland halfway toward EU 2020 targets

In 2013, renewable energy contributed 7.8% of Ireland’s final energy demand, almost halfway toward its binding target of 16% under the EU’s Renewable Energy Directive (RED).

According to Renewable Energy in Ireland 2013, published by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), the country is now using five times more renewables than in 1990.

This has helped to avoid three million tonnes of harmful CO2 emissions and displaced €300m of fossil fuel imports annually.

SEAI chief executive Dr Brian Motherway said: “Renewable energy is becoming increasingly valuable to Ireland. It is worth noting that vast majority of renewable energy comes from a combination of wind and bioenergy. Policy is directed towards making best use of our most available and cheapest resources, with no silver bullet.

“We need to make the right choices for Ireland by developing our energy system in the most cost-effective manner to the benefit of our economy and society. The targets are demanding but achievable; to get there we will need focus, effort and investment.”

The report also indicates that the share of electricity generated from renewable energy sources increased four-fold since 1990, with renewables now contributing one-fifth of electricity generated – the second largest share behind gas.

Other highlights from the report include:

  • The vast majority of renewable energy came from wind (47%) and bioenergy (42%) with the remainder coming from hydro, geothermal and solar.
  • Renewable electricity accounted for 58% of renewable energy, renewable heat 30% and renewable transport fuels 12%.
  • Ireland’s Gross Final Consumption of renewable energy amounted to 839 thousand tonnes of oil equivalent, five times more than in 1990 – largely because of the increasing contribution from wind energy.