Energy Industries were responsible for 17.1% of Ireland's Greenhouse Gas emissions in 2018.
This sector accounts for emissions from fuels combusted in electricity generation, waste to energy incineration, oil and natural gas refining, briquetting manufacture as well as fugitive emissions from oil and gas production, transmission and exploration.
The latest provisional GHG inventory figures estimate emissions in the Energy Industries sector show a decrease of 11.7% which is attributable to decreases in consumption of coal and peat by 43.7% and 3.3 % respectively, whilst there were increases in natural gas, oil, biomass and non-renewable wastes of 1.5%, 2.3%, 24.8% and 60.9% respectively for electricity generated. The increases in biomass and non-renewable waste were due to the new waste to energy facility in Dublin operating at full capacity in 2018. In 2018, electricity generated from wind and hydro increased by 13.6% and 0.4% respectively, reflected in a 13.6% decrease in the emissions intensity of power generation in 2018 (377 g CO2/kWh) compared with 2017 (436 g CO2/kWh). Renewables now account for 32.6% of electricity generated in 2018 (up from 29.0% in 2017).
Energy Industries show a decrease in emissions of 8.5% over the period 1990 – 2018. Over the time series, emissions from electricity generation have decreased by 10.3% whereas total electricity consumption has increased by 128.7%. Emissions from electricity generation increased from 1990 to 2001 by 54.2% and have decreased by 41.9% between 2001 and 2018. This decrease reflects the improvement in efficiency of modern gas fired power plants replacing older peat and oil-fired plants and the increased share of renewables, primarily, wind power along with increased interconnectivity. This year was the lowest year in the 29-year time series for coal fired electricity generation, 44% less than in 2017, as Ireland’s only coal fired plant was off line from August 2018 to the second half of 2019.
At the time of publication in June 2019 the emissions projections figures under the With Existing Measures scenario (with the baseline inventory as 1990-2017) project emissions from Energy Industries to increase by 31% between 2018 and 2030 to 15.4 Mt CO2eq.
Under the With Additional Measures scenario (shown as the line in the chart below) projected emissions from Energy Industries will decrease by 27% between 2018 and 2030 to 8.6 Mt CO2eq.