Renewable energy in the Republic of Ireland

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Wind turbines on Leitrim's Corrie Mountain

Under the Renewable Energy Directive Ireland has set a target of producing 16% of all its energy needs from renewable energy sources by 2020. Between 2005 and 2014 the percentage of energy from renewable energy sources grew from just 3.1% to 8.6% of total final consumption. By 2020 Ireland has a target of producing 42.5% of its electricity needs from renewable sources.

The country has a large and growing installed windpower capacity at 2,486 MW by the end of 2015 producing just under a quarter of all its electricity needs in that year. In contrast in 2015 it had the second lowest installation of solar PV power in the EU after Latvia at just 2.1 MW of installed capacity.

Energy consumption by sector[edit]

Projected total gross final energy consumption by sector in 2020.

  Heating and cooling (36.6%)
  Electricity (20.9%)
  Transport (42.6%)

According to the Irish National Renewable Energy Action Plan (NREAP),[1] as submitted by all member states as part of the EU Renewable Energy Directive, in 2020 the gross final energy consumption in Ireland by sector is projected to break down as follows:

*Projected energy use by sector in 2020[1] ktoe RE 2020 target
Heating and cooling 4,931 12.0%
Electricity 2,813 42.5%
Transport 5,747 10.0%
Gross final energy consumption* 14,142 16.0%

*All figures calculated as per Directive 2009/28/EC

In 2020 the transport sector is expected to comprise 42.6% of final energy consumption. The heating and cooling sector (also known as the thermal sector) includes domestic heating and air conditioning and industrial heat processes is expected to account for 36.6% of final energy consumption The electricity sector is projected to account for 20.9% of consumption.

Total annual energy consumption (after adjustments) is projected to be 14,142 ktoe (14.142 million tonnes of oil equivalent) by 2020. To meet Ireland’s overall target of16% use of renewable energy in gross final energy consumption by 2020 (it was just 3.1% in 2005) targets have been set for each sector. By 2020 renewable energy use is targeted to be 12% in the heating and cooling sector, 42.5% in the electricity sector and 10% in the transport sector.

Sources[edit]

Wind power[edit]

Installed wind power capacity
Year Cumulative Capacity (in MW)
2008
1,027
2009
1,260
2010
1,392
2011
1,631
2012
1,749
2013
2,037
2014
2,262
2015
2,486
2016
2,830
Installed windpower capacity (MW)[2][3][4]
2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
1,027 1,260 1,392 1,631 1,749 2,037 2,262 2,486 2,830

Wind power has been growing steadily in the Republic of Ireland by around 200 MW per year rising from 1,027 MW in 2008 to 2,830 MW by year end 2016. The grids of the Republic and Northern Ireland are integrated, and the combined wind power capacity is 3,916 MW.[3] During the year 2015 wind power provided just under a quarter of the country’s electricity demand at just over 23% of the total.[5] On the 11th of January 2016 an all time record was broke in Ireland while generating 2,815 megawatts of wind energy.This wind energy was generated within a 15 minute peroid and also supplied enough energy to generate 1.8 million homes with energy.[1]

Solar PV[edit]

Installed solar PV capacity (MW)[6][7]
2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
0.4 0.6 0.6 0.7 0.7 1 1.1 2.1 5.1

Solar PV installed capacity in Ireland is amongst the lowest in Europe, it was just over 2MW in 2015. In the same year the corresponding figure for the United Kingdom was 8,915 MW[8] and for Denmark 790 MW.[9] In 2015 the country had the lowest capacity per inhabitant of all EU countries, only Latvia had a lower absolute capacity.[10] Predictions for future growth in installed capacity vary widely from 500 MW by 2021 to 3,700 MW by 2030 with government support.[11]

Biomass[edit]

Solid biomass and biogas[edit]

Biomass use by sector 2014[12]
Electricity sector Gwh/ ktoe Heating and cooling sector ktoe
Solid biomass 330/28 222
Biogas 206/18 8.1
Total 536/46 230.1

*Converted using IEA unit converter.

Solid biomass was used mostly in the heating and cooling sector providing 222 ktoe of energy, it was also used to generate some electricity at 28 ktoe of energy. Biogas was used mostly in the production of electricity contributing 18 ktoe.

Biofuels[edit]

Biofuel use in transport (ktoe)[12]
2013 2014
Bioethanol/ bio-ETBE 29 27
Of which Biofuels _ _
Of which imported 29 24
Biodiesel 74 90
Of which Biofuels 73 77
Of which imported 50 67

In 2014 Biodiesel provided 90 ktoe to the transport sector whilst Bioethanol/Bio-ETBE provided 27 ktoe.

Targets and Progress[edit]

Targets[edit]

Renewable energy targets and projected consumption (%) 2005-2020, NREAP.[1]
2005 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
RES- Heating and Cooling (%) 3.50% 4.30% 4.90% 6.10% 6.90% 7.70% 8.90% 9.70% 10.10% 10.50% 11.20% 12.00%
RES-Electricity(%) 6.90% 20.40% 24.60% 25.30% 30.50% 31.00% 32.40% 32.20% 33.80% 37.50% 37.30% 42.50%
RES-Transport(%) 0.00% 3.00% 3.90% 4.60% 5.10% 5.50% 5.90% 6.60% 7.40% 8.10% 8.80% 10.00%
Overall RES(%) 3.10% 6.60% 8.10% 9.00% 10.50% 11.00% 11.80% 12.20% 12.90% 14.00% 14.40% 16.00%

Overall renewable energy sources show a target trajectory of 6.6% share in 2010 rising to 14% by 2020. The electricity sector shows the most ambitious trajectory with a rise from 6.9% of total supply in 2005 to 42.5% by 2020.

Progress[edit]

Renewable energy results and actual consumption (%) 2013,2014.[12]
2013 2014
RES- Heating and Cooling (%) 5.50% 6.60%
RES- Electricity (%) 20.80% 22.70%
RES- Transport (%) 4.90% 5.20%
Overall RES share (%) 7.60% 8.60%

According to Ireland’s third progress report, by 2014 the country had achieved an 8.6% share of overall energy use from renewable energy sources. This was below the targeted 11% share planned for that year. Renewable energy use in the electricity sector was the furthest from its target of just over 8 percentage points below its target for the year. Renewable energy use in the electricity sector has been shown to rise quickly in other years and in other countries so Ireland may move closer to achieving its 2020 targets in the next few years.

See also[edit]

Further links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "European Commission, National action plans".
  2. ^ "Global Wind Energy Council, Global Wind Reports, 2009,2011,2013,2015".
  3. ^ a b "Wind Statistics". www.iwea.com. 20 April 2017. Retrieved 18 September 2017.
  4. ^ "Global Wind Report 2016" (PDF). files.gwec.net. Retrieved 2017-09-24.
  5. ^ "The Irish Times, October 25, 2016".
  6. ^ "EurObserv'ER, Photovoltaic Barometer 2016,2015,2014,2013,2012,2011,2010,2009".
  7. ^ "Photovoltaic barometer 2017 | EurObserv'ER". www.eurobserv-er.org. Retrieved 2017-09-24.
  8. ^ "p53 Energy Trends 2016, Department of Energy and Climate Change".
  9. ^ "Ingenoren".
  10. ^ "EurObserv'ER, Photovoltaic-Barometer-2016".
  11. ^ "Newsbase, 14th April 2016".
  12. ^ a b c "2015 Member State progress report translated into English".