Ireland’s energy system is characterised by a high share of fossil fuels, despite a rapid increase in renewable energy sources. Fossil fuels accounted for 87% of the total primary energy supply (TPES) in 2019.
In 2019, the transport sector accounted for 42% of the total final consumption (TFC), followed by the industry (18%), residential (23%) and services (14%) sectors. Natural gas and electricity are consumed across most sectors, with the largest demand in the commercial sector, whereas oil dominates in the transport sector. Ireland also consumes reducing amounts of coal and peat, particularly in residential and industrial sectors.
TPES declined in the aftermath of the global financial crisis in 2008. It dropped from a high of 16.4 million tonnes of oil equivalent (Mtoe) in 2008 to 13.3 Mtoe in 2014 but has picked up in recent years. In 2019, TPES was 14.6 Mtoe, an 11% decline from 2007 but a 10% increase on 2014.
Oil is the largest share of energy use in Ireland, accounting for nearly half (49%) of TPES. Natural gas is the second-largest energy source, accounting for 31% of TPES. Domestic gas production has increased strongly since the beginning of operations of the Corrib gas field in late 2015. Ireland was nearly 66% self-sufficient in natural gas in 2017 but this is already falling and was down to 47% in 2019. The remaining energy supply in 2019 came from coal, which accounted for 2.6% of TPES, peat (4.3%), wind (5.9%) and other renewables and wastes (5.7%).
Renewable energy has steadily increased over the last decade. In 2005, 2.5% of Ireland gross final energy use came from renewable energy sources. In 2019, this had risen to 12% or an increase of 340% in absolute terms.
Renewable energy use has been most successful in the production of electricity, particularly from wind. In 2005, 7.2% of Ireland’s electricity came from renewables and this has grown to 36.5% in 2019 – with wind suppling 85% of this.
In the other modes of energy use, renewable energy accounted for 8.9% of transport and 6.3% of energy use for heat in 2019.
Go to next chapter: Affordable and Clean Energy