Wednesday, 10 March 2021

Questions (79)

Alan Farrell


79. Deputy Alan Farrell asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications the steps he is taking to procure new renewable energy sources particularly vital for heating and transport sectors given their current heavy reliance on oil and gas; if he is satisfied with the current rate of the transition away from fossil fuels; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1577/21]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

The Programme for Government commits Ireland to achieving an average 7% per annum reduction in overall greenhouse gas emissions from 2021 to 2030 and to achieving net zero emissions by 2050.

This will require a significant shift away from fossil fuels and a corresponding increase in the use of renewable energy across all sectors. Currently 12% of the energy we consume is from renewable sources. The National Energy & Climate Plan, which was approved by the Government and published last year, commits us to reaching a level of 34% by 2030.

In order to achieve this target, the Government has set a target of 70% of the electricity we consume to come from renewable sources by 2030. We are currently over halfway to achieving this target and the Renewable Electricity Support Scheme will support further increases as evidenced by the successful first auction which took place last year.

In the heat sector, the National Energy & Climate Plan envisages an increase from the current level of 6% renewable energy to 24% by 2030. This will be achieved by a combination of retrofitting 500,000 homes, installing 400,000 heat pumps, ensuring new buildings do not install fossil fuel heating systems and supporting the growth of renewable energy through programmes such as the Support Scheme for Renewable Heat.

Growth in renewable energy in the transport sector will also be required which is within my remit as Minister for Transport. This will include significant growth in the use of electric vehicles powered by electricity that will be 70% renewable by 2030. It will also include growth in the use of sustainable biofuels displacing fossil fuels in conventionally power vehicles. 

I would note the policies and measures currently in place are not sufficient to meet the commitments set out in the Programme for Government. An updated Climate Action Plan is currently under development and I expect this will further increase the rate at which we move away from fossil fuels to renewable technologies.