Tuesday 28 August 2018

Renewable Energy in Ireland to Surpass Coal for First Time

The prevailing public opinion is that renewable energy is still a niche within the energy sector, so I thought it helpful to share some analysis that puts this in context. (Originally posted as Twitter thread).

According to the SEAI, 2017 is the year when renewables will have first surpassed coal as a primary energy source in Ireland. The transition of the largest ESB powerplant at Moneypoint away from Coal by 2025 will accelerate this trend.

Primary Energy from Renewables to Surpass Coal for the first time in 2017

Renewable energy officially overtook peat in 2011. Electricity production from peat has a high carbon footprint, so it is welcome news that over time the three peat power plants will eventually close or convert to sustainable biomass fuels.

Primary Energy from Renewables overtook Peat back in 2011

In less positive news, the use of natural gas is still three times the level of renewables and expected to grow at a faster pace. Current plans are to convert legacy plant to natural gas and it remains the fuel of choice for commercial or domestic heating. There are good prospects that some of this will be grid-injected biogas, but the majority will be fossil-based.

Natural Gas use predicted to grow faster than Renewables

And our continued reliance on oil, particularly for private cars and home heating remains the biggest challenge for Irish energy policy. Time to walk, cycle, use public transport and drive electric. Also renewable heat supports cant come soon enough to encourage biomass and heat pumps.

Stubborn reliance on oil for heating and transport

SEAI maintain an excellent resource for charting historic and predicted energy use in Ireland: SEAI charting App