Thirty per cent of electricity was produced from renewable sources in 2017 with a target of reaching 40% by 2020. While emissions from the sector were on a downward trend between 2005 and 2011, they have stayed relatively static since, as a result of rising demand for power outstripping our increased generation from renewable sources. Nevertheless in 2017 the use of renewables in electricity generation reduced CO2 emissions by 3.3 Mt and avoided €278 million in fossil fuel imports. The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) estimate displacement of emissions through the use of renewable energy in electricity generation in the Energy in Ireland 2018 report (section 3.1.4). The methodology used is detailed in the 2019 Renewable Energy report – see appendix 2. The 2019 report is based on previous research by SEAI titled Quantifying Ireland’s Fuel and CO2 Emissions Savings from Renewable Electricity in 2012 which compare electricity generation without the use of renewables with the actual outcome in 2012 when renewables were in use. This analysis shows real and substantial emissions reductions resulting from the use of renewables.
In the recently launched Climate Action Plan, I have set out a target of reducing CO2 emissions from the electricity to 4-5 Mt in 2030.
Reaching a 70% share of renewable electricity would require 50-55% emissions reduction by 2030 relative to pre-NDP 2030 projections, as set out in Chapter 7 of the Plan.