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Fossil Fuels

Emissions from electricity usage down 21% last year

The SEAI said the reduction in emissions is “encouraging”, but that more needs to be done to meet climate targets.

THERE WAS A record 7.3% decrease in energy-related emissions in Ireland in 2023, reaching their lowest in 30 years.

The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) also estimates that emissions from electricity generation were down by 21% last year.

This, a new report says, is not just due to increased use of renewable energy, but the fact that more electricity is being imported through international interconnectors.

Margie McCarthy, Director of Research and Policy Insights at SEAI said the reduction in emissions is “encouraging”, but that “we must redouble our collective efforts” to reduce reliance on fossil fuels if we are to meet climate targets.

In 2023, Ireland set new highs for wind generation, solar generation, heat-pump installations, EV registrations, and biofuel blending.

The report said this must be built on ”rapidly” to achieve significant and sustained increases in these technologies.

While solar electricity generation increased by over 300% in 2023, it still accounted for just 1.9% of Ireland’s electricity supply.

Additionally, a new record of 11.7 TWh of wind generation was set in 2023, but Ireland needs to install 27% more wind capacity to reach its 2025 milestone.

We need behaviours to change and services in place to support them.

Ireland remains heavily dependent on both fossil fuels and imported energy, with over 80% of energy coming from fossil fuels, and almost 80% of energy imported.

The report also said that transport is an area where collective action is needed urgently, as there has been an “almost full return to pre-COVID levels” of petrol and diesel demand.

Ireland used 1.36 billion litres of jet kerosene in 2023, the highest annual energy demand in air travel ever recorded, up 12.7% on the previous year.

The SEAI says that curbing transport will require better land use planning, more of a shift towards active travel and public transport, and more efficient and renewable modes of private transport.

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