Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Energy Industries

Energy Industries sector was responsible for 15.8% of Ireland's greenhouse gas emissions in 2019


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  • Greenhouse gas emissions decreased by 11.2% in 2019.
  • Reduction of 25% in emissions since 2016.
  • In 2019, 16.6% below 1990 levels.
Infographic of Energy 2019
  • Decreases due to significant reduction in coal and peat use.
  • Increased renewable energy electricity generation and switch from carbon intense fossil fuels to natural gas.
  • Announcements made that coal and peat will be phased out indicate that we can expect these emissions savings to be maintained in the future.

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Energy Industries

This sector accounts for emissions from fuels combusted in electricity generation, waste to energy incineration, oil and natural gas refining, briquetting manufacture as well as fugitive emissions from oil and gas production, transmission and exploration.

The provisional GHG inventory figures estimate emissions in the Energy Industries sector decreased by 11.2% which is largely attributable to decreases in consumption of coal by 69% and peat by 8.0% for electricity generated. There were increases in the use of natural gas (3.4%), oil (128.3%) and biomass of 2.0% for electricity generated. In 2019, electricity generated from wind and hydro increased by 16.0% and 27.7% respectively, reflected in a 13.6% decrease in the emissions intensity of power generation in 2019 (325 g CO2/kWh) compared with 2018 (375 g CO2/kWh). Renewables now account for 37.6% of electricity generated in 2019 (up from 33.0% in 2018).

Energy Industries show a decrease in emissions of 16.6% over the period 1990 – 2019. Over the time series, emissions from electricity generation have decreased by 18% whereas total electricity consumption has increased by 139.5%. Emissions from electricity generation increased from 1990 to 2001 by 54.2% and have decreased by 46.8% between 2001 and 2019. This decrease reflects the improvement in efficiency of modern gas fired power plants replacing older peat and oil-fired plants, reduced coal use and the increased share of renewables, primarily, wind power along with increased interconnectivity. This year was the lowest year in the 30-year time series for coal fired electricity generation, 70% less than in 2018, which reflects the gradual phasing out of coal fired electricity generation for market and climate reasons.

Projections (published in July 2020) show emissions from Energy Industries decreasing by approximately 23% between 2021 and 2030 to 8.7 Mt CO2eq under the With Existing Measures (WEM) scenario. 
Emissions from Energy Industries are projected to decrease by 40.2% between 2021 and 2030 to 7.0 Mt CO2eq under the With Additional Measures (WAM) scenario (shown as the line in the chart below). Under this scenario it is estimated that renewable energy generation increases to approximately 70 per cent by 2030.

*The Projections for 2020 -2030 in this graph pre-date the methodological changes made to the 1990-2019 Inventory. Care should therefore be taken in comparing historic and future emissions levels.


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Energy Industries emissions and projections (WEM) 1990-2030*

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