Ireland's choice of indigenous energy sources has been rather limited going back to the foundation of the state. Apart from peat and some deposits of oil and natural gas that are now nearly exhausted or not fully on-stream its largest indigenous energy supply came from renewable energy sources (RES) most notably hydro-electricity. The main issues regarding energy in Ireland are:
- Security of supply, since the country is highly dependent on imported fuels, oil (100%), coal (100%) and gas (93.4%).
- Fossil fuels accounting for the majority of energy consumed: Oil (47%), Gas (29%), Coal (10%).
- Poor public transport infrastructure, and with dispersed settlement patterns, leading to a high dependency on private transport. Continued underinvestment in public transport system.
- One of the least energy efficient housing stock in Northern Europe, despite a third of this stock being built during the economic boom
- 20% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, 20% improvement in energy efficiency (33% reduction in public sector energy use), and 20% of the EU’s energy demand to come from renewable sources by 2020
- Obligations to be met 40% from electricity, 12% from heat, and 10% from transport
- Security of supply: highly dependent on imported fuels, oil (100%), coal (100%) and gas (93.4%).
- Fossil fuels account for the majority of energy consumed: Oil (47%), Gas (29%), Coal (10%).
- Poor public transport infrastructure, and with dispersed settlement patterns, leading to a high dependency on private transport. Housing stock is amongst the least energy efficient in Northern Europe, despite a third of this stock being built during the economic boom
- "Technical problems" associated with wind energy, main renewable energy source. Energy-efficiency standards are not a priority – Environment Minister relaxed building regulations in 2015.
Targets & Roadmaps
- Main strategic documents for: 2020
- 2007 White Paper "Delivering a Sustainable Energy Future for Ireland"
- National Energy Efficiency Action Plan (NEEAP)
- Strategy for Renewable Energy: 2012–2020
- Better Buildings: A National Renovation Strategy for Ireland
Main Discourses at Public level
- Traditionally, energy policy in Ireland has featured a trade-off or balancing of three key, often competing, policy objectives – security of supply, competitive prices and environmental sustainability
- The Green Paper on energy policy in Ireland (2014) discusses six priority themes, which include: empowering “energy citizens”, markets, regulation and prices, delivering infrastructure, sustainability, and driving economic opportunity.
- Despite calling for the empowerment of “energy citizens” in the Green Paper, public debates on the three most contentious energy issues at present – hydraulic fracking, grid pylons, and onshore wind farms – has been largely absent from the public discourse.
Main Events as drivers
- The Electricity Regulation Act (1999): Full deregulation of energy market & creation of the Commission of Electricity Regulation
- Economic crash: Economic recovery is the key driver rather than sustainability
- War in Ukraine: Increased focus on energy security due to disruption of gas supplies
Find a policy
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