Thursday, 24 October 2013

Questions (167)

Bernard Durkan


167. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the extent to which fossil fuels continue to be replaced by alternative energy in the area of electricity generation, motor fuel and domestic heating fuels; the extent to which the alternative energy remains competitive; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45551/13]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

The overarching objective of the Government's energy policy is to ensure secure and sustainable supplies of competitively priced energy to all consumers. Ireland is currently heavily reliant on imported fossil fuels to meet our energy needs. While it is acknowledged that fossil fuels will remain part of the energy mix for some time to come, progress is being made towards increasing the share of renewable energy in our energy requirements. The 2009 EU Renewable Energy Directive set Ireland a legally binding target of meeting 16% of our energy requirements from renewable sources by 2020. In order to meet this target, Ireland is committed to meeting 40% of electricity demand, 12% of heating and 10% of transport power from renewable sources, with the transport target also being legally binding.

There are already a number of policies in place to support the cost effective increase in renewable energy across the three sectors and this increase in renewable energy will continue to play a direct role in reducing our reliance on expensive fossil fuel imports. Provisional figures for 2012 indicate that 6.9% of our overall energy requirements were met from renewable sources, made up of 19.5% in electricity, 5.1% in heat and 2.3% in transport. My Department is also currently finalising a bioenergy strategy following cross-Departmental and stakeholder engagement. The strategy will set out the actions, including any additional policies, required to optimise the cost effective contribution that energy from biomass can make to the 2020 renewable energy targets and thus further reduce our reliance on fossil fuels.