Renewable energy in the Republic of Ireland
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
According to the Irish National Renewable Energy Action Plan (NREAP), 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||ktoe||RE 2020 target|
|Heating and cooling||4,931||12.0%|
|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.
|Year||Cumulative Capacity (in MW)|
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. During the year 2015 wind power provided just under a quarter of the country’s electricity demand at just over 23% of the total. On 11 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 period and also supplied enough energy to provide 1.8 million homes with energy.
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 and for Denmark 790 MW. In 2015 the country had the lowest capacity per inhabitant of all EU countries, only Latvia had a lower absolute capacity. Predictions for future growth in installed capacity vary widely from 500 MW by 2021 to 3,700 MW by 2030 with government support.
Solid biomass and biogas
|Electricity sector Gwh/ ktoe||Heating and cooling sector ktoe|
*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.
|Of which Biofuels||_||_|
|Of which imported||29||24|
|Of which Biofuels||73||77|
|Of which imported||50||67|
Targets and Progress
|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%|
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.
|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.
- Wind power in Ireland
- Energy in Ireland
- Electricity sector in Ireland
- Renewable energy in the UK
- Renewable energy in Scotland
- Renewable energy by country
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