Renewable energy in the Republic of Ireland

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Wind turbines on Leitrim's Corrie Mountain
Ireland renewable electricity production by source

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.

The country has a large and growing installed wind power capacity at 4,351 MW by the end of 2020 producing 38% of all its electricity needs in that year.[1] In contrast in 2019 it had the second lowest installation of solar PV power in the EU after Latvia at just 36 MW of installed capacity.[2]

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),[3] 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[3] 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
2017
3,127
2018
3,564
2019
4,155
2020
4,351
Installed windpower capacity (MW)[4][5][6][7][8][9][1]
2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
1,027 1,260 1,392 1,631 1,749 2,037 2,262 2,486 2,830 3,127 3,564 4,155 4,351

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 4,351 MW by year end 2020. The grids of the Republic and Northern Ireland are integrated, and the combined wind power capacity is 5,030 MW.[10] During the year 2020 wind power provided 36.3% of the country's electricity[11][12] On 21 February 2020 an all-time record was broken in Ireland, with wind generating 3,347 MW.[10]

Solar PV[edit]

Installed solar PV capacity (MW)[13][14][15][2]
2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
0.4 0.6 0.6 0.7 0.7 1.0 1.1 2.1 5.1 15.7 29.0 36.0

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[16] and for Denmark 790 MW.[17] In 2015 the country had the lowest capacity per inhabitant of all EU countries, only Latvia had a lower absolute capacity.[18] Predictions for future growth in installed capacity vary widely from 500 MW by 2021 to 3,700 MW by 2030 with government support.[19]

Solar radiation and photovoltaic electricity potential in Ireland using optimally inclined photovoltaic modules

Biomass[edit]

Solid biomass and biogas[edit]

Biomass use by sector 2014[20]
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)[20]
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.[3]
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.[20]
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.

In 2020 Ireland reached its renewable electricity target averaging at 40% renewable through the year (mostly from wind).[11] Heating and cooling and transport targets were not reached.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Wind energy in Europe in 2020 - Trends and statistics". WindEurope. Retrieved 25 February 2021.
  2. ^ a b webmaster. "Photovoltaic barometer 2020 | EurObserv'ER". Retrieved 1 June 2020.
  3. ^ a b c "European Commission, National action plans".
  4. ^ "Global Wind Energy Council, Global Wind Reports, 2009,2011,2013,2015".
  5. ^ "Wind Statistics". www.iwea.com. 20 April 2017. Retrieved 18 September 2017.
  6. ^ "Global Wind Report 2016" (PDF). files.gwec.net. Retrieved 24 September 2017.
  7. ^ "Wind in power 2017" (PDF). Wind Europe. Retrieved 1 June 2020.
  8. ^ "Wind energy in Europe in 2018" (PDF). Wind Europe. Retrieved 1 June 2020.
  9. ^ "Wind energy in Europe in 2019" (PDF). Wind Europe. Archived (PDF) from the original on 21 February 2021. Retrieved 1 June 2020.
  10. ^ a b "Facts & Stats". www.iwea.com. Archived from the original on 1 June 2020. Retrieved 1 June 2020.
  11. ^ a b "Wind Energy Powers Ireland to Renewable Energy Target". windenergyireland.com. Retrieved 31 January 2021.
  12. ^ "IWEA rebrands as Wind Energy Ireland". 25 January 2021. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  13. ^ "EurObserv'ER, Photovoltaic Barometer 2016,2015,2014,2013,2012,2011,2010,2009".
  14. ^ "Photovoltaic barometer 2017 | EurObserv'ER". www.eurobserv-er.org. Retrieved 24 September 2017.
  15. ^ "All Photovoltaic barometers | EurObserv'ER". Retrieved 29 August 2019.
  16. ^ "p53 Energy Trends 2016, Department of Energy and Climate Change".
  17. ^ "Ingenoren".
  18. ^ "EurObserv'ER, Photovoltaic-Barometer-2016".
  19. ^ "Newsbase, 14th April 2016".
  20. ^ a b c "2015 Member State progress report translated into English".

External links[edit]