CO2 emissions from energy use down 4% last year

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Data released today by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) shows that CO2 emissions from all energy use fell 3.9% in 2019.

The reduction of 1.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide marks the largest annual decrease in CO2 emissions since 2011.

Emissions in 2019 were 22% below 2005 levels, but were higher than 2014.

The reduction was due mostly to less coal being used to generate electricity – which fell by 70% compared to the previous year.

The Provisional Energy Balance 2019 figures comprises analysis of Ireland’s energy supply for last year. The main findings show that overall energy use fell by 1.2% while the economy grew by 5.5%.

Coal use in electricity generation fell by 70% in 2019 with the Moneypoint electricity generating station operating at reduced capacity.

The reduction in electricity generated by coal was partly made up by a 9% increase in wind generated electricity, which supplied almost one third of all electricity. The remainder of the shortfall came mostly from increased net imports of electricity.

These changes have resulted in the CO2 intensity of electricity falling by 12% to a new low of 331 gCO2/kWh in 2019. The renewable share of gross final consumption of electricity in 2019 increased to 36.6% (33.3% in 2018).  Wind contributed 31.5% points of this.

Energy from all renewable sources grew by 6.5% in 2019 and accounted for 11% of all energy used.

Natural gas use grew by 2% and oil use increased by 0.6% and accounted for 50% of all energy use.

Import dependency (the share of energy imported, as opposed to sourced in Ireland) increased to 69%, up from 67% in 2018.