Sectoral emissions in the Energy Industries sector show an decrease of 1.8% in 2022 which is attributable to reductions in coal, fuel oil and peat use (-16.1%, -29.1%, and -24.8%) in electricity generation. There was a substantial increase in natural gas use by 12.6% following an 8.9% decrease the previous year as plants were offline in 2021.
In 2022 renewables accounted for 38.6%, (an increase from 35.0% in 2021). The use of natural gas increased by 12.6% and is currently the highest usage since 2010, at 48.8% of electricity generated in 2022.
Emissions from electricity generation had decreased year-on-year from 2016 to 2020, but 2021 and 2022 has seen an increase in emissions of 1.4-1.5 million tonnes compared to 2020. The return to using more carbon intensive fuel along with less renewables and natural gas plant availability has played a big part in changing the trend as well as an increasing demand for electricity.
Note: These pages present provisional 1990-2022 Inventory data (updated July 2023) and the EPA's latest 2022-2030 projections estimates (updated June 2023)
In 2022 the energy industries sector was responsible for 16.6% of Ireland's greenhouse gas emissions
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.
Sectoral emissions in the Energy Industries sector show an decrease of 1.8% in 2022 which is attributable to a decrease in coal, peat and fuel oil use in electricity generation. In addition, there was an increase in renewable energy used for electricity generation.
There were reductions in the use of coal (16.1%) and oil (29.1%) for electricity generation. In 2022, electricity generated from wind increased by 14.6% and hydro reduced 6.4%, reflected in a 4.8% decrease in the emissions intensity of power generation in 2022 (331g CO₂/kWh) compared with 2021 (348 g CO₂/kWh). Renewables accounted for 38.6% of electricity generated in 2022.
Energy Industries show a decrease in emissions of 11.1% over the period 1990 to 2022. Over the time series, emissions from electricity generation have decreased by 12.2% whereas total electricity consumption has increased by 138.3%. Emissions from electricity generation increased from 1990 to 2001 by 54.3% and have decreased by 13.1% between 2001 and 2022. 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. This year was the lowest year in the 33-year time series for peat fired electricity generation, 28% less than in 2021. These reductions reflect the gradual ending of peat fired electricity generation for market and climate policy reasons. Emissions from electricity generation had decreased year-on-year from 2016 to 2020, but increased in 2021 by 18.9% compared to 2020 due to an increase in coal and oil used for electricity generation driven by a number of factors including the ware in Ukraine. Whilst use of coal in electricity generation decreased in 2022, it was still at a higher level than has been the case in more recent years, slightly above what was seen in 2018.
(Latest update June 2023)
Under the With Existing Measures scenario, emissions from the energy industries sector are projected to decrease by 50% to 5.2 Mt CO2 eq over the period 2021 to 2030.
Under the With Additional Measures scenario, emissions from the energy industries sector are projected to decrease by 60% to 4.2 Mt CO2 eq over the period 2021 to 2030. Under this scenario it is estimated that renewable electricity generation increases to at least 80% by 2030.