Climate change and Ireland’s future energy pathways

Date released: Jul 01 2011

Climate Change and Ireland’s Future Energy Pathways is the topic of a stakeholder seminar being hosted today (Friday 1 July 2011) by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI).

The seminar will explore the challenges and options for Ireland in meeting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction targets and ensuring that energy needs are met. The seminar will also hear about work being done to support planning and decision making in the energy sector; projected GHG emissions and energy pathways. 

Laura Burke, Director, EPA Office of Climate, Licensing, Research and Resource Use commented:

“The choices we make on our energy future need to recognize both short and long term issues, including requirements to meet greenhouse gas emissions targets, managing costs and seizing economic opportunities. The EPA is working with SEAI to provide the analysis required to inform these choices and to ensure that the potential of renewable energy in assisting Ireland in meeting our greenhouse gas targets is understood.”


Commenting on the seminar, Dr. Brian Motherway, Chief Operations Officer of SEAI said:

“Our ability to analyse our energy systems has become more sophisticated in recent years. We can model the dynamics of our energy and related emissions and that allows us to make better choices for the future policies and actions required to address the challenges we face”


Energy modeling work, jointly funded by the EPA and the SEAI, and carried out in University College Cork will be presented at the seminar. This work has identified energy pathways up to 2050, and shows that renewable sources will be a dominant source of energy for Ireland, which is essential if ambitious emissions targets being established at EU and UN level are to be met.  The work done shows that greenhouse gas emission reductions of 80% are possible using existing technologies, many of which may be superseded by 2050. 

Material from the recent IPCC Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation, which explores global potentials for renewable energy, will be discussed at the seminar, by one of its Irish authors Professor Tony Lewis, UCC.  This report, which was welcomed by the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change at the beginning of June, shows the enormous potential of renewable energies and finds that this potential remains almost completely untapped.


Further information: EPA Media Relations Office 053-9170770 (24 hours)

Notes to the Editor:
The seminar is organised under the EPA’s Climate Change Research Programme, with support from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland. Research supported under this programme has produced valuable insights on greenhouse gas mitigation in the energy sector, as well as supporting policy objectives. The IPCC Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources and Climate change Mitigation shows that the technical potential for renewable energy technologies exceeds the current global energy demand. New research by University College Cork shows that renewable energy can contribute significantly to emissions reductions in Ireland out to 2050.