Greenhouse gas emissions from Ireland's power generating sector fell in 2013, EPA reports

Date released: May 08 2014

Greenhouse gas emissions from Ireland’s power generating sector fell in 2013, EPA reports

“Radical structural reform of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme is required to incentivise change in energy use”, says EPA

  • Emissions of greenhouse gases from Irish companies in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme in 2013 decreased by 7 per cent overall compared to 2012.
  • Emissions from the Power generation sector fell by 11.5 per cent.
  • Cement industry emissions decreased by 4 per cent.
  • Food and Drink sector showed an increase in emissions of 4 per cent.

Participants in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme based in Ireland reported 7 per cent fewer greenhouse gas emissions for 2013 than in 2012.  Almost 100 major industrial and institutional sites in Ireland participate in the Emissions Trading Scheme. These include sites operating in the power generation, cement, lime, and oil refining sectors. Also included are large companies in sectors such as food & drink, pharmaceuticals and semi-conductors. Companies participating in the scheme are required to report their emissions (to the EPA) by 31 March each year.

The decrease in reported emissions for 2013 is largely due to lower emissions from the power generation sector (a decrease of 11.5% from the conventional power plants).  This decrease may be partly due to extended shutdowns of units at Moneypoint coal-fired power station, coupled with the availability of renewables. Emissions from the cement production industry decreased by 4% due to lower production levels.  Companies in the Food and Drink sector reported an overall increase (4%) in their emissions last year, reflecting strong growth in this sector.

 Dr Maria Martin, EPA Senior Manager, said:

 “Overall, recorded emissions show a welcome downward trend for 2013, due mainly to lower emissions in the electricity generation sector. However this result does not detract from our awareness of the need to decouple carbon emissions from economic growth. We need radical structural reform of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme in order to ensure that the price of carbon will be at a level which incentivises real change in how we manage our energy requirements and reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. The current proposal from the EU Commission to introduce a market stability reserve of allowances from 2021 is a step in the right direction.”

Further details on Emissions Trading  can be accessed from the EPA website and further information on Ireland’s total greenhouse gas emissions is available on the following webpage: National Emissions Inventories.

The EPA has developed a useful Infographic entitled The Simple Guide to Ireland’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions. 

Notes to Editor:

Participants in the ETS based in Ireland reported 15.68 Mtonnes CO2 for 2013 in contrast to the 16.89 Mtonnes CO2 seen in 2012.

Emissions Trading Scheme Verified Emissions 2005-2012: For comparative purposes Ireland's verified ETS emissions since 2005 were as follows (keep in mind that from year to year the scope of the scheme can change somewhat as some installations close and new ones open):

Verified Greenhouse Gas Emissions (Mtonnes CO2)

 200520062007200820092010201120122013
Emissions 22.43 21.7 21.25 20.38 17.22 17.36 15.77 16.89 15.68

Emissions Trading: Emissions trading is a “Cap and Trade” scheme where an EU wide limit or cap is set for participating installations. The cap is reduced over time so that total emissions fall. Within that limit “allowances” for emissions are auctioned or allocated for free (outside the power generation sector). Individual installations must report their CO2 emissions each year and surrender sufficient allowances to cover their emissions. If their available allowances are exceeded an installation must purchase allowances. If an installation has succeeded in reducing its emissions, it can sell its leftover allowances.  The system is designed to bring about reductions in emissions at least cost, and is envisaged to play an increasingly important role in assisting European industry implement the type of reductions envisaged in the EU Commission’s limit of at least an overall 20 per cent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in the EU by 2020.

The Environmental Protection Agency is the competent authority for implementation of the Emissions Trading Scheme in Ireland including the administering of accounts on Ireland’s domain in the Union Registry.