Climate Action Plan: Electricity
The aim is to fully decarbonise Ireland's electricity consumption by harnessing our renewable energy resources.
30.1% of our electricity was generated from renewable sources in 2017 but this is still far off our 2020 target of 40%. Emissions in this sector are generally static as our increased demand for power is offsetting the decrease in emissions from renewable energy.
in 2016 the CO2eq. emissions intensity of Ireland’s electricity emissions per capita was 13% higher than the EU due to greater use of high-carbon fuels, including coal and peat. Despite this our emissions from the electricity sector as a share of total greenhouse gas emissions is less than the EU as a whole.
Demand for electricity is projected to increase by 50% in the next decade in line with predicted economic growth. It's crucial that this new demand is met through renewable sources, with the aim of decoupling economic growth from emissions growth.
Electricity sector emissions must be lowered from 12 Mt to 4-5 Mt by 2030 to reach the emissions reduction target.
Reaching a 70% electricity generation target by 2030 will require a reduction in emissions of 50-55%.
Achieving 70% renewable electricity by 2030 will involve phasing out coal- and peat-fired electricity generation plants, increasing our renewable electricity, reinforcing our grid (including greater interconnection to allow electricity to flow between Ireland and other countries), and putting systems in place to manage intermittent sources of power, especially from wind.
Renewable Energy Support Scheme (RESS) is a government policy designed to deliver on their commitments to decarbonise the electricity grid and harness our natural resources. The RESS will be the policy measure that will drive delivery of the 70% renewable electricity generation target. RESS auctions will allow international investment into Ireland's renewable energy sector, which should make the 70% target more achievable.
The burning of fossil fuels will be phased out. The burning of coal in ESB's Moneypoint plant will be phased out by 2025 and replaced with low-carbon and renewable technologies. Bord na Mona will transition away from peat by 2028.
Target at least 3.5 GW of offshore renewable energy of mainly offshore wind, the development of up to 1.5 GW of grid scale solar energy, an increase in onshore wind capacity of up to 8.2 GW. This will be delivered in a competitive framework of auctions and corporate contracting with a renewed focus on community and citizen participation
Enhanced interconnection between Ireland and neighbouring countries will be crucial in order to support a variable renewable energy supply. Links are planned between the UK and France at present.
Fund research into offshore power, as it has been predicted that our coast holds potentially 70 GW of energy in the form of offshore wind, wave and tidal. There is emphasis on the potential of exporting our offshore renewable sources. This will also involve the introduction of a new offshore grid connection policy in line with RESS auction timeframes.
More cross-border cooperation for funding renewables, particularly offshore wind, to reduce the cost impacts on Irish consumers and businesses.
Introduce a new micro-generation policy which will allow people to sell excess electricity back into the grid. Mechanical electricity meters will be replaced in every house by 2024 under the Smart Metering Programme. This will facilitate better demand management and cost savings for consumers. The electricity market rules will be changed in early 2020 in order to enable micro-generated electricity to be sold to the grid. This should include provision for a feed-in tariff for microgeneration to be set at least at the wholesale price point.
A group will be established to ensure the potential of Carbon Capture and Storage to see if its use in practical in Ireland