Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Questions (200)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

200. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the extent to which an economic evaluation has been carried out of a shift away from dependency on fossil fuels here without reliance on imports; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41500/18]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

Timely and reliable energy statistics underpin evidence-based decision making. The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) work closely with my Department and present a comprehensive overview of energy supply and demand in Ireland to inform Government policy.

The SEAI has a lead role in developing and maintaining comprehensive national and sectoral statistics for energy production, transformation, and end-use. This data is a vital input in meeting international reporting obligations, for advising policymakers, and informing investment decisions.

The SEAI have a specialist statistics team, the Energy Policy Statistical Support Unit (EPSSU), whose core functions include the collection, processing, and publishing of energy statistics to support policy analysis and development in line with national needs and international obligations; conducting statistical and economic analysis of energy services sectors and sustainable energy options; and contributing to the development and promulgation of appropriate sustainability indicators.

As part of this work the SEAI publishes an annual “Energy in Ireland ” Report which presents national energy statistics on energy production and consumption over a set period. The latest available Report is the 2017 Report which covers the period 1990-2016. The 2018 Report, covering 1990-2017, is expected to be published in December this year.

The Report shows that Ireland has a high import dependence on oil and gas and is essentially a price taker on these commodities. However in 2016 Ireland’s energy import bill fell by €1.2 billion because of a reduction in fossil fuel imports. While most of this reduction in fossil fuel imports was due to a reduction in natural gas imports, thanks to the Corrib gas field reaching full production, the contribution of renewables avoided 3.9 million tonnes of CO2 emissions and saved €342 million in fossil fuel imports.