Electricity pylon and cables in the night sky

Ireland on course to meet emissions targets

Energy usage returned to 1999 levels last year as increase in energy-efficiency continues

The Irish economy is on target to meet its Kyoto agreement goals, according to a report which highlights the country’s energy-efficiency.

The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) has said that overall energy usage dropped by 4.6% back to 1999 levels last year in its annual Energy for Ireland report.

This puts Ireland on course to meet its emissions targets, which along with the rest of the EU, should be met by 2020.

Meanwhile electricity generated from renewable has grown eight-fold since 1990 as Ireland attempts to increase its energy-efficiency by reducing fossil fuel usage.

“The energy productivity of Ireland’s economy has been improving steadily over recent years with improvements in all sectors,” said Brian Motherway, chief executive of SEAI.

“We are moving in the right direction but there is no room for complacency.

“Investing in energy efficiency, particularly in our buildings sector, can play an important role in our economic recovery by supporting jobs and strengthening business competitiveness.”

He added that the typical Irish household now emits 40% less CO2 than was the case 20 years ago, but was quick to point out that Ireland still imports 85% of its energy.

This overall cost of 6.5 billion in 2012 means there is still more to be done to improve energy-efficiency in the bid to switch to renewable sources from imported fossil fuels.

The average household produced 6.3 tonnes of carbon last year, but that is 28% lower than the peak experienced in 2005 while reports suggest houses produce 40% less carbon than 20 years ago.

Meanwhile emissions for the whole country dropped by 3.3% in 2012, although the economy remains heavily dependent on oil and natural gas.