The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland, (SEAI) has recently published a report on Renewable Energy performance in Ireland. SEAI on was established as Ireland’s national energy authority under the Sustainable Energy Act 2002. SEAI’s mission is to play a leading role in transforming Ireland into a society based on sustainable energy structures, technologies and practices.
Over the past 20 years Ireland’s overall use of Bioenergy has been constantly increasing. Bioenergy is renewable energy made available from materials derived from biological sources. As a fuel this may include wood, wood waste, straw, manure and many other by-products from a variety of agricultural processes.
One of SEAI’s main roles is to develop and maintain statistics for energy production, transformation and end use. Some of the facts and figures which they produced include:
In 2012, overall renewable energy output grew by 0.6%, representing 7.1% of Ireland’s energy use. Ireland’s target under the EU Renewable Energy Directive is to achieve a 16% renewable energy penetration by 2020.
Industrial biomass energy use (mostly in the wood, food and cement sectors) accounted for 68% of all thermal renewable energy used in 2011, which corresponds to 2.9% of all thermal energy use in Ireland.
The table attached below shows the different fuel types used in Ireland and the growth and quantity of these types of fuel.
- It can be seen that the total amount of renewable energy has increased by 0.6% during 2012 to 838 ktoe (Kilotonne of Oil Equivalent). While hydro and biomass increased by 13.5% and 20% respectively, wind fell by 8.4% and other renewables (mainly biofuels) fell by 8%, resulting in the small overall increase in renewables in 2012.
Industrial biomass energy use increased by 167% (6% average annual growth) between 1990 and 2006. However there has been a decrease in industrial Renewable Heat Energy recently with an average annual reduction of 2% since 2006. The industrial biomass demand in 2011 remained unchanged at the 2010 demand level.
Residential biomass energy use increased by 9.5% between 1990 and 2011. However the average annual growth rate increased in recent years to 18% between 2005 and 2010.
The contribution of renewable energy to overall energy demand in Ireland rose from 2.3% to 5.6% between 1990 and 2010, and reached 6.5% in 2011. Ireland’s target is to achieve 16% by 2020 under EU Directive 2009/28/EC.
While the situation is improving, it now seems unlikely that Ireland will hit its 2020 targets without further market stimulation or incentivisation.