The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) has released data which shows that CO2 emissions from all energy use fell 3.9% in 2019, equivalent to 1.5 million tonnes of CO₂. This marks the biggest annual reduction in CO2 emissions since 2011, at the height of the last recession. Emissions in 2019 were 22% below 2005 levels, but are higher than 2014, when we emerged from recession.
The fall was due mostly to a reduction in coal used for generating electricity, which fell by 70% compared to the previous year. The Provisional Energy Balance 2019 figures comprises analysis of Ireland’s energy supply for last year. The main findings show:
· Overall energy use fell by 1.2% while the economy grew by 5.5%
· Coal use in electricity generation fell by 70% in 2019 with the Moneypoint electricity generating station operating at reduced capacity.
· The reduction in electricity generated by coal was partly made up by a 9% increase in wind generated electricity, which supplied almost one third of all electricity. The remainder of the shortfall came mostly from increased net imports of electricity.
· These changes have resulted in the CO2 intensity of electricity falling by 12% to a new low of 331 gCO2/kWh in 2019. The renewable share of gross final consumption of electricity in 2019 increased to 36.6% (33.3% in 2018). Wind contributed 31.5% points of this.
· Energy from all renewable sources grew by 6.5% in 2019 and accounted for 11% of all energy used.
· Natural gas use grew by 2% and accounted for 32% of all energy use.
· Oil use increased by 0.6% and accounted for 50% of all energy use.
· Import dependency (the share of energy imported, as opposed to sourced in Ireland) increased to 69%, up from 67% in 2018.
Denise Maguire Editor of Irish Construction Industry Magazine