Renewable electricity saved Ireland €245 million in 2012

6 June 2014

LONDON: In a landmark study released yesterday, the Sustainable Energy Agency of Ireland (SEAI) revealed the on-going de-carbonization of the energy system in Ireland has resulted in the republic saving €245 million in 2012.

By utilizing renewable energy to generate electricity in lieu of fossil fuels, Ireland has saved €245 million (US$334 million). When avoided CO2 emissions are taken into account total savings increase by €15 million (US$20 million), the report Quantifying Ireland’s Fuel and CO2 Emissions Savings from Renewable Electricity in 2012has found.

As an island, Ireland is heavily dependent on energy imports and in 2012 the nation imported 85% of its energy requirements in the form of fossil-fuels at a total cost of €6.5 billion (US$8.9 billion).

By examining the contribution different energy sources made to Ireland’s total power need in 2012, the SEAI was able to isolate the exact value of renewables to the Irish energy system. Currently, the island of Ireland hosts 2,450 MW of installed renewable generation capacity.

SEAI IRELAND ENERGY

Renewable energy, which accounted for a meagre 4.9% share of electricity generation in 1990, has been significantly expanded and now meets 19.6% of overall electricity demand. Furthermore, the study highlights that renewables met the power needs of 780,000 homes in 2012.

Wind energy is primarily responsible for this achievement and in 2012 fulfilled 15.3% of electricity demand, generating savings of €177 million (US$241 million) in fossil fuel and €11 million (US$15 million) when accounting for avoided CO2 emissions.

The Republic of Ireland is a global leader for wind energy and currently ranks fourth in the world for the proportion of electricity generated from wind energy. 

In fact, the release of the report comes just after academics and policy experts from Trinity College Dublin and the Irish Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) presented a new study which argued that by setting a more ambitious target for wind energy by 2020, Ireland has the potential to create 35,000 new jobs.

Dr Brian Motherway, CEO of SEAI, when commenting on the case for renewable energy, was keen to emphasize the financial argument for development: “This report reinforces the critically important argument about the need for Ireland to make the most of our own national resources, keeping money in the Irish economy and gaining much needed greater independence in our energy system.”

The Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Mr Pat Rabbitte, T.D. expressed his support for the SEAI report in particular and renewable energy in general: “We now have a thorough and robust study which sets out the significant energy security and cost benefits that Ireland can realize from using wind and other renewable based electricity. 

Ireland needs to continue along this path of sustainable deployment of renewable energy, in a way which respects local communities and circumstances”, the Minister affirmed.

Image coutesy of SEAI

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By Alana Ryan

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