ENERGY IN IRELAND: 2018 REPORT (SEAI)

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. As you will see elsewhere, I keep my blogs to a very low geek level. I try to summarise & parse high-level documents into easy-to-chew bites, for non-academics like myself.

So here goes!

The annual SEAI Energy In Ireland Report is our “school report” on how we are doing from an energy perspective, for the last year in particular. Though the above report was published towards the end of 2018, it essentially reports on 2017 activities.

The key points from the Report are as follows:

Overall energy use increased by 0.5%, in the context of a 3% economy growth (GNI): energy use not completely decoupled from economy. It is noteworthy that though the economy in 2017 had grown by almost 50% since 2007, energy use is still below 2007 levels. In fact, the energy intensity of the economy has fallen by 40% between 2007 & 2017, though this figure may be corrupted by the somewhat spurious measurement of GDP in 2015! However, it is also noteworthy that the decoupling of energy use from economy growth that was evident from 2009-2014, has now been reversed since 2015. Perhaps this reflects restored wealth & prosperity within parts of society?

3.4% increase in energy use in Industry (on a 7.6% increase in output)

2% increase in energy use in Transport (average emissions of new cars actually slightly increased, due to reduced purchase levels of A label cars (<120gCO2/km)).

The main modes of transport, by energy use, were: Private Car 41.4%, Road Freight/LGV 21.5%, Aviation 20.2% & Public Transport/Rail 3.5%. The private car population in 2017 was 2.07M with a car density of 431/1,000 pop. (compared to 505 & 469 in EU27 & UK respectively). Total private car mileage has been consistently increasing since 2000, with a figure of just over 35,000 billion km in 2017.

4.2% increase in energy use in Services sector (commercial & public services): a recalculated figure 7.4% applies after weather-adjustment (2017 had a slightly lower than average number of degree-days, 6% lower than 2016). However, it is noteworthy that there has been a 11% energy use reduction in this sector over the period 2005-2017, with fuel consumption per employee at 21% below the 2005 level.

2.9% reduction in energy use in Residential sector, though a marginal increase of 0.2% was calculated after weather-adjustment. Overall, residential energy use in 2017 was 11% below 2005 (weather-corrected). The fuel share in the residential sector for 2017 was fossil fuels (71.3%), renewables (2.5%) & electricity (26.2%). The average dwelling in 2017 consumed 12,708kWh of direct fuels & 4,503kWh of electricity.

1.1% reduction in energy use in Electricity inputs, reflecting impacts of renewables on the grid. Losses associated with electricity generation amounted to 50% of energy inputs.

30.1% of all electricity was generated from renewable sources (25.2% from wind); the CO2 intensity of electricity dropped to an all-time low of 437gCO2/kWh – this is accounted for by increased use of wind/hydro/biomass in generation, accompanied by falls in use of coal/peat/oil in generation. 7.3% of electricity was generated by CHP installations, primarily fuelled by natural gas.

Renewable energy sources displaced €439M of fossil fuel imports, of which renewable electricity displaced €278M of fossil fuel imports

It was a record year for wind generation installations (534MW). By the end of 2017, installed wind generation capacity had reached 3,318MW, with a further 2,640MW pending connection/connection contracts. The capacity factor for wind in 2017 was 28.5%, with 33% for hydro.

90% of our final energy use was derived from fossil fuels; 60% approx of Ireland’s CO2 emissions were accounted for by the combustion of fossil fuels

Ireland’s energy import dependency dropped from 88% (2015) to 66% (2017) due to increased use of renewables, but more particularly due to natural gas production at the Corrib Gas Field. However, this high gas production level from the Corrib Gas Field is expected to taper off in the coming years.

FINAL ENERGY USE BY SECTOR

  • TRANSPORT 42%
  • HEAT 37%
  • ELECTRICITY 21%

PROGRESS TOWARDS 2020 TARGETS:

10.6% Renewables- overall              (Target 16%)

Wind 52%

Bioenergy 38%

Hydro 4.9%

Geothermal 3.3%

Solar 1.2%

30.1% RES-E (electricity)                    (Target 40%)

7.4% RES-T (transport)                       (Target 10%)

Calculation of the RES-T contribution is quite complicated as there are different weighting factors applied depending on the mode of transport involved. (The contribution increased from 4.1% to 7.4% after application of weighting factors). The change is being driven primarily by the biofuels obligation scheme which requires fuel suppliers to include 4% biofuel by volume of their annual sales.

6.9% RES-H (heat)                               (Target 12%)

Recent growth has been attributable to increased use of solid biomass and also the increased use of heat pumps in new & existing dwellings.

GHG EMISSIONS

60.8Mt CO2eq (2017) COMPARED TO 69.5Mt CO2eq (2005 baseline year)

60% Energy-Related

Transport 39%

Residential 24%

Industry 22%

Services 13%

Agriculture/Fisheries 2%

32% Agriculture

6% Industrial Processes

2% Waste