Energy 

In 2019, emissions from energy industries have decreased by 11.2% on 2018, mainly because of the replacement of coal and peat with natural gas and wind generated electricity. Overall, GHG emissions from energy industries accounted for 15.8% of Ireland’s national total emissions in 2019. Over the period 1990-2019, emissions from electricity generation have decreased by 18.0%, whereas total electricity consumption has increased by 139.5%. This decrease reflects the improvement in efficiency of modern gas fired power plants replacing older peat and oil-fired plants and the increased share of renewables, primarily, wind power along with increased interconnectivity.

In 2019 the energy industries sector was responsible for 15.8% of Ireland's greenhouse gas emissions  

 

Highlights

Summary of Energy HG emissions trends 2019

Current trends

  • Greenhouse gas emissions decreased by 11.2% in 2019
  • 25% reduction in GHG emissions since 2016
  • In 2019, emissions were 16.6% below 1990 levels

Cause

  • Decreases due to significant reduction in coal and peat use
  • Increased renewable energy electricity generation switch from carbon intense fossil fuels to natural gas

Outlook

  • Announcements made to phase out coal and peat indicated that we can expect these emissions savings to be maintained into the future.

Energy industries sector

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 final GHG inventory figures estimate emissions in the energy industries sector decreased by 11.2% which is largely attributable to a decrease in consumption of coal by 76% for electricity generated. There were increases in the use of natural gas (3.4%), oil (101.0%) and biomass of 3.7% 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 this period, emissions from electricity generation decreased by 18% whereas total electricity consumption increased by 139.5%. Emissions from electricity generation increased from 1990 to 2001 by 54.2% and 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. As a result, 2019 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. 

Under the With Existing Measures (WEM) scenario, emissions from the energy industries sector are projected to increase by 1.4 % to 8.6 Mt CO2 eq over the period 2020 to 2030.
The With Additional Measures (WAM) scenario, projects emissions from the energy industries sector to decrease by 24.8% to 6.3 Mt CO2 eq over the period 2020 to 2030. Under this scenario it is estimated that renewable energy generation increases to approximately 70% by 2030.